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January 31, 2002

so, does anyone else collect chicken broth?

so, does anyone else collect chicken broth?

I have a shopping problem. I like to buy in bulk.

It's not even one of those Costco/Price Club bulk binge problems. Because I don't buy the bulk all at once. I just collect items until they become bulk quantity.

I've been this way since I was little. I was a hoarder. I would take canned goods, candy bars, those little boxes of cereal and put them under my bed. I once packed a suitcase full of silverware, napkins, canned fruit and, of course, a can opener. I hid it in my closet, sure that one night a hurricane or earthquake or tidal wave or alien invasion would necessitate my having a suitcase full of sliced peaches ready to go. I was always prepared for the worst, ready to stave off starvation by just reaching under my bed. Eventually my mother realized what I was doing and took all my supplies back, muttering something about therapy.

This quirk persisted into high school and beyond, when I would buy pot in mass quantities and store it away in my nightstand in case there was a nuclear war and I was the last one standing and needed to spend the rest of my lonely days in a hazy oblivion.

Eventually my pack rat sensibilities crossed over into other areas. I saved months worth of Creem magazines to read when I was under quarrantine when the inevitable plague arrived. I bought loose leaf paper by the box, sure that I would need it all to write down my memoirs when I was the sole surivor of an asteroid disaster. At some point, I was able to keep my hoarding impulses under control and I stopped collecting things for future disasters.

You can never keep a good quirk down. A few months ago, I went into the pantry to get hot cups. I stared at the shelves in horror. When did the uncontrollable urge to buy uneeded items in bulk strike me again? I didn't even realize it had started up. But there lining the shelves was the evidence. 6 packages of hot cups. 4 packs of styrofoam bowls, 100 to a pack. Enough paper plates to take down the entire rainforest. I walked around the house in a daze, opening cabinets and drawers and cupboards. 4 Economy sized boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups. 12 - yes 12 - cans of coffee. 5 lbs of butter in the freezer. 7 boxes of Success white rice. And somewhere along the line, I must have developed a chicken broth fetish without realizing it. Justin took out the calculator and did a quick survey. All together, in a myriad of cans and those stay-fresh-forever boxes, was 293.5 ounces of chicken broth.

The sad thing is, the compulsion to overbuy doesn't end with food. I have 3 100 count boxes of CD-Rs in my closet. 6 packs of blue Sharpies. 10 marble notebooks. And tampons. I could plug up the Mississippi River with the amount of tampons I have.

Am I subconciously getting ready for a nuclear winter? Am I preparing once again to be the last person standing on earth? Or do I just have really bad buying habits?

Gotta go. ShopRite is having a sale on plastic forks.

ribbit

ribbit

froggy-icon.gifI won a Froggie! Fredo has given me an award for being the best Motherblogger! Hah! I won something Wil Wheaton can't!

Thank you Fredo!

fear, loathing and self esteem

fear, loathing and self esteem

I laid in bed last night thinking not about the usual things like money and death and how much I want a cigarette. I was thinking about my self-image, which goes hand in hand with self-esteem.

Do you ever wonder how people see you? If what you see when you look in the mirror is what everyone else sees? If what you see when you look in your soul is at all in tune with how others see that part of you?

We are reflections of so many things; how we dress, how we talk, our family, our schooling, our jobs, our accents, the car we drive, the music we listen to. We are lumped and categorized and labeled until perhaps we happen to believe the label ourselves, no matter if somewhere inside, we know it is the wrong one. We become what others imagine us to be.

Esteem and image are such arbitrary things. You can have a great self-worth one day, and then an offhand comment meant as a joke can send you reeling to a place where it is hard to get up from. People pick away at the skin of your image and they don't even realize they are doing it. What some people view as jest or humor can be deadly blows to the esteem of people with fragile egos.

It's easy to come off as if you have a big ego. As if your self-image and esteem are intact and running high. A few well-chosen words or outfits and you can almost feel for that moment as if you are not living a lie. Who will know that when you go home and are in the privacy of your dark bedroom that you loathe yourself and your body and your very own soul? It's easy to ride the crest of high self worth when one hundred people tell you that you are beautiful, but when that one person you admire points out one of your flaws, all those compliments cannot hold you up as you falter.

Our egos and self identities are fragile systems. They are held together with tape and glue and string and all it takes is for one person to comment on your dress, your hair, your project or your attitude in general - just one person, one tiny comment - and it all breaks apart so easily. Then you stand in front of the mirror, stripped naked and sobbing, wondering what it is that people see in you anyhow. Wondering if anyone really sees what's in there or if they are just scratching your surface and being content with that. Wondering if you can keep up with the image others have set for you, knowing full well that most of that image is kept up with smoke and mirrors and something up your sleeve.

You really have no way of knowing what lies deep inside of a person's heart. You don't know what thoughts are behind the ones they actually speak, what past actions guide their present words, what they really honestly see when they look at themselves. You don't reallly know unless you ask. Unless you take a friendship or a relationship and go beyond the skin and into the soul to find out. Do you think anyone is really the exact way that you see them? Do you think that everyone you know who comes off as strong and capable and smart and sexy really thinks that about themselves? Or do they go home at night and think about that one slight, that one remark, that will make them feel worthless and empty?

It takes years to build up your image and esteem to the point where the your inner sense of worth meets your outer sense. Where what people see and what you actually are form into one, where you are so comfortable in your own skin that you can't imagine wearing anything else. And all it takes is one instance, one phrase, one time being told you aren't good enough/pretty enough/thin enough/smart enough. One time to erode a lifetime worth of praise.

Don't be one of those image-crushing people. Don't be the kind of person who never stops to think about the consequences of their words. Or worse, the kind of person who doesn't care. I understand some people trample on the egos of others to make themselves feel bigger and stronger and better. And no matter how low I get, no matter how far my self image sinks, I would rather be me than be the person who broke me. I can live with myself. Can you?

congrats

congrats

Congratulations to my friends and the owners of those sites I read who have won Bloggies. The people who won really deserve the accolades. So congratulations to them, for a well-deserved day in the sun. And to those who I thought should win but didn't, you have my undying admiration and really, what better award is there than that?

Don't answer that.

Now, let the anti-bloggies begin.

January 30, 2002

diary of a mad blogger

diary of a mad blogger

The day was better; still no cigarettes, still haven't killed anyone. And when the day goes buy with clean lungs and a clean record then it can't be all bad, can it? So despite a few odd emails and the simmering desire to claw Scott Stapp's eyes out, I'm doing ok.

I would like to thank everyone who sent Happy Birthday wishes to DJ. You all are too kind. And this is the extent of my posting for the rest of this day because we are having a houseload of people over in about 3 hours and it's going to be hard to get rid of them once we open the PS2. And someone is going to have to referee the fighting over the controls.

Relatives. You can't live with them, you can't shoot them. Well, you can, but who needs that on their conscience?

don't make me hURL a stone at you

don't make me hURL a stone at you

Could everyone who hasn't already done so please update their links to reflect this URL? I moved my stats tracker over here and you all are severely messing with my numbers by linking to the former page.

Not that I care about that stuff. Nope, not at all.

when i say happy, you say birthday!

when i say happy, you say birthday!

d2.jpg
Happy Birthday, DJ!

DJ is: smart, funny, sweet, empathetic, a perfectionist, short-tempered, a good reader, ambidexterous, manipulative, sympathetic, affectionate, emotional, full of energy, always the best baseball player on his team, a very picky eater, obssesive, a video game addict, a stellar recorder player, quiet and shy in school, loud and obnoxious at home, appreciative, cuddly, handsome, interesting, and my son. Today he is 9 years old and most importantly, to him at least, he is now the proud owner of a Playstation 2.

So where did those 9 years go? Was it that long ago that I was strapped down to a hospital bed screaming for an epidural and kicking anyone that came near me?

I gave birth to DJ in the evening. I was tired. I was ugly. I told everyone to please visit me the next day, I just wanted to sleep. So they peeked at the little red-faced baby who looked somewhat like ET, and they went home, promising to return the next day. But you know what? The next day was Super Bowl Sunday. And nobody came to see me, except for my best friend Barbara who brought me McDonald's and ice cream and stayed to watch the game with me, because she felt so bad that I had been abandoned by everyone, including my husband at the time. But that's ok, because the joke was on them. It was the worst Super Bowl in the history of time. The Cowboys beat the Bills 52- 17 and I laughed and laughed at the family members who spent money to sit in a bar and watch that crap when they could have been hanging out with me and the newborn DJ, eating ice cream and laughing at the Bills.

But we weren't talking about me, were we? This is about DJ. Happy Birthday, DJ. Now go finish your homework.

Day 2 of the great smokeout and I can see this one is headed in the same direction as yesterday. I woke up from bizarre dreams (where Wayne Brady was directing traffic and he had a raging hard on), only to realize my edginess has not subsided. I want to have a good day. I need to have a less stressful day. But I know what's going to happen. I am going to get pissed off about the coffee today. I am going to finally go on a bloody rampage in regards to the fact that at least 5 people a day, the same people every day, come in my office and drink my coffee and use my sugar and milk and cups and never, ever ever offer to contribute anything towards the purchase of any of the items they use daily. I've had it. It used to be just one guy (remember my Mr. Coffee Guy rants?) but he must have spread the word about my supposed caffeine generosity because it's five people now. I will no longer stand by while my coffee resources are depleted by those unwilling to drop at least a fucking quarter on my desk in gratitude. It's not the money. It's the principle.

Must control spork of death. Must not kill coworkers. Must remain calm.

Oh yea, I was saying, Happy, Birthday DJ. And happy birthday to that other odd yet endearing Aquarian, Mr. Davezilla.

Added shortly thereafter: I AM ADORED! That's right. Who's bad? Uh huh. Jerwin is rockin my world today, because he put me in his little adored box, proving once again that I am loved by gay males everywhere. Damn skippy I'm proud of that.

January 29, 2002

you cannot silence me!!

you cannot silence me!

And then....there were news headlines.
Jeb Bush daughter in drug bust
Town banishes Satan
3.5 ton satellite to fall from sky
WTC victim credits god with his escape.

Did I accidently click on the National Enquirer?

I could go into a long rant here about the man who thinks god saved her from dying in the World Trade Center, because wouldn't there be something inherently wrong with a god that would save one person but not about 3.000 others? And honestly, if god was going to take the time out of his busy schedule to perform personalized miracles honey, don't you think he would have just stopped the whole thing from happening? If he was that kind of god, ya know?

Ok, I'm done. I see some hot steaming java with my name on it

remains of the day

remains of the day

The only word that can begin to describe this entire day is surreal. You already heard about the first two parts of the day; allow me to elaborate on the late afternoon/evening portion.

The rest of the morning and afternoon went pretty much the same as the day started. Everything had this weird feel to it, as if the world was suddenly off kilter by just a fraction of an inch. I think I walked around with my head tilted all day, as if I was listening for a sound no one could hear but me. The call of the aliens, perhaps.

I managed to keep my sanity during the afternoon, even though I had downed about 3 pots of coffee and I was being tested by the mail gods, who kept making our elderly, evil mail tag-team known as Ren and Stimpy come back to my office asking "anything going out?" six trillion times. I smiled politey each time and told them no, nothing ready to go out since the last time they asked me, oh....ABOUT 3 MINUTES AGO! I think my smile may have been too broad, my teeth a bit too clenched, because after their last quest for outgoing mail, when I was grinning and carving a pentagram into the desk with a letter opener, I never saw them again.

I finally, finally make it home. I pick up Natalie so we can go shopping for DJ's birthday present, and make a pit stop to drop my sister off at the gas station to pick up her car (with it's new radiator hose). We get around the block and meet head on with a horde of fire engines parked in front of a house. Ambulances, cops, nosy neighbors, everyone is there. And so are about 100 firemen, all milling around this person's lawn, non-chalantly drinking soda and talking. I got one of those looks from a fire police type guy, the stare that says "These are not the droids you are looking for. Move along." So we moved, figuring it was one of those false alarms, where the wife was cooking dinner and the smoke alarm went off and the kids called the fire department. What? That doesn't happen to everyone?

So anyhow, we get to the gas station, my sister picks up her car, and the mechanic is looking at my car now, looking at it quizzicaly and sniffing the exhaust and he says it smells funny. No, no that's not what smells funny. It smells like..like..a house fire! And sure enough, rising from the sky down the block from my house is a small, but stinky plume of smoke. Guess someone really did burn dinner!

And then....Natalie got lost in the bathroom at Target, like she had been vacuumed up into a time warp and then dropped back down again, right in front of the soap dispenser.

And then....it was 70 plus degrees outside, at night, in January, in New York. And when I got home from Target, my lawn had been taken over by several small boys playing football, all of them in shorts. In January. In New York.

And then....I still hadn't had a cigarette, I still hadn't punched out a co-worker or murdered a random stranger or drove my car up on my neighbor's lawn in an effort to stifle their windchimes. And I am still sane.

Relatively speaking.

(expletives deleted)

(expletives deleted)

I picked a bad time to stop smoking. Let's have a recap of this day so far, ok?

DJ wakes up in a grumpy mood. It's now a battle of the grumpies, me and him. He's fighting me tooth and nail on everything I tell him to do (or not do). Finally, we come to a battle royale about ten minutes after we should have been out the door. I say something to him, he says something incredibly sarcastic back to me. I lean down to within an inch of his face.
"You want to get sarcastic with me?"
"Yeah!" he snarls.
"You do NOT want to get into a battle of sarcasm with me! I will wipe your ass with my sarcasm!"

What? What the hell did I just say to him? I have no idea where that came from or what it meant, but I give DJ a lot of credit for not laughing in my face.

So finally, after a battle over sock that didn't feel right, we get out the door and over to my mother's. Mom is an antagonistic mood today. She questions everything. Why is DJ wearing those pants to school? How come his hair doesn't looked combed? Didn't I realize that Honeycombs was not really a full breakfast for a growing kid? So now not only am I late for workm but I'm slowly moving from feelilng edgy to homicidal.

I walk out the door, but I still can't head to work yet. I have to drop my car off at the gas station for an alignment. My sister is meeting me there. Ten minutes ago. I get to the station, give the guy my keys, get all my belongings out of my car, and get into my sister's car. Two blocks away from the station, her check engine light goes on. The temperature needle moves all the way to Hot. I tell her to turn around, go back to the gas station, and we will switch cars. My alignment can wait another day. She says no, it's just a quirk. The car is fine. Mmhmm.

So we get to the babysitter's house to drop off my nephew. As soon as she turns off the engine, the car seems to expload in a hiss of steam. We jump out of the car, only to hear the sound of rushing water. Or anti-freeze. It's pouring out of the engine. Hiss. Splash. Hiss. Splash. Fuck. Bastard. Hiss. Splash.

Now the babysitter has to leave all the kids with her husband and drive us back to the gas station. I tell the guy I want my car back, and he should send someone to pick up my sister's car. And then, finally we are on our way to work. I kept reaching for my cigarettes, forgetting that I didn't have any.

The ride to work took about 15 more minutes than it usually does. Every idiot on the road was out, and they were all surrounding me. Finally, we pull into the parking lot. I am carrying my pocketbook, my backpack full of crap I take to work with me, my jacket and a bag from the store with water, milk and lunch. I struggle into the door. They ask me for my ID. The people I see every day, twelve times a day, the people who know my name and my kids' names and way too much about me need to see my ID, which is at the bottom of the backpack. I put everything down, rummage around until I find the ID, and when I dangle it in front of me to show that I have it, the actual person who asked to see it is walking down the hallway, completely uninterested in the identification he just asked for. I pick everything up again and then wait ten minutes for the elevator.

Finally, in my office. Turn on the computer. Put everything down. Go through mail. Make coffee. Sit down and breathe for a few minutes before I begin working. No. They are everywhere, on the phone, standing in my doorway, sending me email. Missing files, adjourned dates that no one knew about, conferences that never happened, misnumbered papers...it wouldn't end. And it's only 10:00 at this point. The whole day stretches out before me like hell before Dante.

I did not cave in. I did not smoke. I have eaten a whole box of Triscuits. I have had 16 cups of coffee. I have said words that would make Chris Rock blush. But I have not smoked.

Yet the questions remain: Are clean lungs and a fatter wallet worth my sanity? And who suffers more when I quit smoking, me or the people around me? Will someone get sick of my bitching and general crankiness and kill me before I have the chance to murder a random stranger who is making a left turn without using his blinker?

Answers? Anyone? Bueler?

the sign is now lit

the no smoking sign is now lit

I woke up in a decent mood, despite the series of nightmares I had last night, most involving dark, deep water, some involving Corey Feldman. I think when I wake up in a good mood, the last thing I should do is read or watch the news.

Do you know what our president is up to now? According to CNN, Bush is proposing to spend tens of millions of dollars in a campaign to urge single mothers on welfare to get married. (no story yet, just a blurb)

I'll stop a second while you pick your jaw up from the floor.

Does this man not have advisors or as they all as brain dead as he is? How can you validate spending the nation's money on this kind of program, especially when we are in the throes of a recession? (of course whether we are in a recession or not depends on who you listen to)

I'm am going to reserver further judgment until I get the entire story, but I will say that if Bush thinks marraige solves problems, or that making people get married is a good way to reduce the welfare rolls, or that money can keep a relationship together, or that a child will benefit from a marraige that comes from anything but love..if he thinks any of those things to be true, he is a fool.

Anyhow, I am quitting smoking today. Again. I've been through a series of starts and stops with this. Last May, I quit and it lasted until September. The pressure of the world at large got to me, and I succumbed to the nicotine towards the end of that month. I quit again in November when I got pneumonia (as if I had a choice) but went back as soon as I felt better.

Last night, I laid in bed thinking about the ways that smoking has effected me. I wake up coughing almost every night. I can't walk across the street without feeling winded. And at a pack a day, 4 dollars plus change a pack, it's a very expensive habit. I felt so good the last time I stopped. I felt clean and healthy. I can't think of any good reason in the world why I should be smoking, but I can think of a million reasons not to be smoking. I will have to find another way to relieve that stress, maybe punching out a co-worker or throwing my neighbor's wind chimes across the lawn will help.

So please, bare with me while I attempt to not smoke. I will be cranky and bitchy and perhaps a bit hostile. Sort of like I am now, but worse.

January 28, 2002

red, red wine

red, red wine

A glass of wine sounded really good late last night. Watch Project Greenlight, make fun of everyone on the show, and sip wine. Except there was only red wine in the house. I haven't had red wine in many, many years. I just can't drink it. I pour it anyhow, desperate to make the day go away, and take a sip. And then I remember why I don't like it.

My grandfather was big wine drinker. A wine connoisseur, he was not. Just a drinker. He kept his wine in jugs; glass gallon sized jugs that he hid all over the house. My grandmother would snoop around each day, opening cabinets and moving books to see if she could spot the hidden wine. I think almost every fight they had, and we are talking daily, was over the wine. Grandpa drank it morning, noon and night. Befor lunch, with dinner, sitting in the yard, watching Lawrence Welk - any occasion called for a glass. Every memory I have of him, he is holding a glass in his hand. Grandma hated the drinking. She hated the singing that came with the drinking. You could hear her from outside screaming something in Italian, words that I didn't understand but my mother told me to never repeat.

Grandpa shared his love of wine with his grandchildren. From the time we were little, he would pour us small glasses with dinner, mix it with coke, and then whisper in our ears to never ever tell our grandmother that their was wine in the glass. We drank the whole glass down each time, and even though there was barely enough to get us the least bit tipsy, we would run around for the rest of the day like we were drunk.

One day, me, my sisters and a bunch of cousins were sitting at the table after dinner. Grandpa had his jug out and, per usual, poured us each a small glass. Grandma walked into the kitchen and saw us sitting there, ready to drink. She glared at grandpa, a long, evil stare and he acted quickly. Picking up the peaches he had been slicing, he dropped one slice into each of our glasses. "It's just fruit. They're just having a treat," he protested. He gave us a nod and we all dipped our fingers into the glasses, pulled out the wine-soaked peach, and ate it. Grandma went ballistic. She took his jug off the table, and while we all watched with horror, she poured his wine down the sink drain. Then she turned on us. "Now you will drink every bit of that wine in your glasses," she yelled. This was some sort of punishment, but I don't know if it was directed towards us or Grandpa, whose glass was empty, with no chance of a refill. We all drank the wine down, afraid of what grandma would do if we didn't. And then we all went into the living room, feeling a little bit drunk for real this time.

A couple of months later, after a severe dry spell of no drinking with grandpa, came over to babysit for me and my two sisters. I must have been ten at the time. Grandpa brought over his jug (what kind of parents let a man with a jug of wine babysit?) and sat down to watch tv with us. Ten minutes later, he and my youngest sister were sleeping. I don't really know what transpired after that, or whose idea it was, but family lore has it that one of us took the jug of wine and the other sister and headed for the bathroom. Several hours later, after a few unanswered phone calls to the house, my parents came home frantic. They saw grandpa sleeping on the couch, my little sister on the floor, but no site of the their two other young daughters. Finally, my father looked in the bathroom. And there we were, sprawled out on the bathroom floor with an overturned wine jug next to us. Our speech was slurry, our eyes glazed and our lips stained with wine. We spent the rest of the night alternating between throwing up and laughing hysterically. My mother says the next day was spent in bed, doses of St. Joseph's baby aspirin doled out periodically. And that is why, to this day, I cannot stand the taste of red wine.

When grandpa died in 1991 we sat around his yard after the funeral. There were gallons of very cheap wine, peaches to put in the glasses, and a round of Perry Como songs. And the story of the day grandpa babysat. A family legacy that lives to this day, in the form of my aversion to red, red wine.

(this story inspired by a conversation with jonno)

monday musings on the triumverate plus one

monday musings on the triumverate plus one

No matter what I go on to say about Rumsfeld and Ashcroft and the rest of satan's minions, rest assured that they pale in comparison to the evil, heartless prime minister of Australia. Keeping asylum seeking detainees in a camp under a baking sun, in horrid conditions is bad enough. But when told of a suicide pact among the children detainees (none of whom have parents with them) PM Howard blew off the report, claiming that people in that situation always make threats, and its up to people like (Howard) to know when they are bluffing. While Australians are mounting protests against the treatment of the refugees, and the refugees themselves are resorting to self-inflicted violence to get attention, Howard says they are being treated fairly and it's not his fault if they die.

And really, the only thing that sets Howard apart from Rumsfeld in the issue of holding detainees, is that Rumsfeld won't come right and speak his crazed mind like Howard. He's a bit more evasive when asked about the treatment of his prisoners of war. Oh, wait, they aren't POWs, are they? It must be nice to be a position of leadership where you can determine the outcome of events by changing some words around. You don't want them to be POWs because they would have to be treated according to the Geneva Convention? Fine! Let's call them something else and then we can call them guilty and be on with the inhumane treatment.

And then there's Ashcroft. Our beloved, insane Attorney General Ashcroft. He has ordered $8,000 drapes to be used to cover up statues that have appeared in the Great Hall in the Justice Department for over 70 years, because they are partially nude. Nevermind that these statues represent justice; I want to know what kind of filthy mind Ashcroft has when everyone else sees the statues as art, and he sees pornography. It takes a certain kind of mind to view all nudity as something dirty. A very Jerry Falwell type of mind.

And I would remiss if I didn't include a story about the third part of the evil triumverate, Mr. Cheney. Ok, so I don't really feel like picking this story apart right now. I just want you to look at his face in the picture. Is it me, or does he look like he's about to flick you away like a bug on his windshield?

So I think this is a long enough post to test out my moveable type skills. So far, I like it, I just don't know how to get the title to appear. Oh, and for now I am using what is mostly and MT template, but I will have a redesign as soon as I stop frustrating D and come up with something.

welcome

welcome

You know that story about the shoemaker and the elves? The shoemaker and his wife went to bed one night, worried about how all the shoes would get made, and when they woke up in the morning, all their work was done. Some elves had come during the night and took care of everything for them.

That's a bit how I feel this morning. I went to bed thinking about the 8 hours spent trying to get this blog to move to Moveable Type yesterday, and I ended up right back where I started from. I assumed today would be another day of frustration. But when sat down at the computer and went to look at the blog, there was a post saying I had moved. My own personal elf had come during the night and fixed everything up for me. So not only did Candi spend her entire day yesterday figuring out my server issues and moving my entire blog for me, she also managed to get up her own new, sexy redesign. I don't know how she does it, I'm just glad she does.

So I am going to spend a few minutes poking around MT here, pushing buttons and whatnot, and when I figure it all out, I'll get to the regular morning post.

January 27, 2002

sister, sister

sister, sister

I'm officially out of the closet.

Both my sisters now know about this blog. I had managed to keep this place secret from everyone in my home life except for Justin. And now, almost a year later, I've decided to go public. Both my sisters had a small inkling about the blog. They knew I kept some kind of online journal, but a personal one that no one saw but me. I just got to the point where I didn't mind if they knew. Sure, I can't talk about them here anymore. But that's ok, because I'd rather just call them bitches to their faces.

I love my sisters. Yes, we have our differences, we have our fights. What siblings don't? At some point in your life you need to put aside your differing opinions and ideas and just love each other. We did enough squabbling when we were younger. I'm talking about name-calling, hair-pulling, teethmarks in your arm kind of fighting. We fought over doing the dishes, taking the garbage out, whose turn it was to watch a tv show. We rolled around the kitchen floor, throwing punches and crying over who started it while my father shook his head in disbelief. My poor, poor father. Having to live in a house with 3 girls. Not to mention my mother, who is a story unto herself.

Oh, we had our good times. The fun we shared was endless. Like the time they locked me in the closet to test out my claustrophobia. What a riot my sisters were. Ok, I was no angel. We did hide our infant sister in the toy chest once. And no matter what my middle sister says, I did not push her down the stairs when she was in her walker, and I did not try to suffocate her in her bassinet on her Christening day. Want to know what kind of people they are? Whenever I tell the story about being eight years old and saving my little sister's life when the car door opened as my mother drove like a speed demon (no one used seat belts or car seats back then), they will automatically launch into the story of how I almost became road pizza when my uncle drove too fast around a turn and I nearly fell out of the car when the door opened. They laugh when this story is told. They think it's funny.

I love them despite the way they tortured me. Despite the fact that being the oldest, I should have garnered some respect from them growing up instead of always being the victim of their practical jokes and mischevious behavior.

We are three entirely different people. We have different values, different tastes, different lifestyles. Yet when we are together, just the three of us, it's like we are one. I have never doubted once in my life that if I needed my sisters to be there for me, they would. They have both held my hand through some very trying times. They have given me comfort and support and guidance. They have yelled at me when I needed to be yelled at, and picked up my slack when I was in too much of a funk to be a good parent to my children. They tolerated my ex-husband, even though he treated them like shit, because I asked them to. They have no problem telling me when they disagree with my choices, yet they accept those choices because they accept me.

We have been through some rough times in the past few years. We have had arguments and issues and periods of not talking. I'd like to think we are in a place now where we are past that. We have our own lives separate from each other, and there is no reason our choices in those lives need to interfere with our love for each other. We have always accepted our differences. Why change now, when we are older and should be more mature than to let those things put a wedge between us?

Life is short. I do not want to waste it in petty arguments. I don't want to look back at my life and realize that I let the spaces between us get so far that we couldn't cross them.

So to my sisters, should you be reading this, I love you. I may bitch about you and call you names right to your face and question your sanity sometimes, but I love you and my children love you and sometimes, love is all you need.

January 26, 2002

letters to inanimate objects, part 3

letters to inanimate objects, part 3

Dear Hormones:

This letter is to inform you that you have ten (10) days from the date of this notice to pack up your belongings and get out of my body. A warrant of eviction has been served and unless you can show just cause as to why you should be allowed to remain, you may commence with the leaving.

I have put up with your nonense for way too long. The way you control my emotions is no longer going to be tolerated. I will no longer allow you to cause me to cry over Kleenex commercials or weep like a baby when someone makes an offhand comment about the way my hair looks today. One minute, you want me to be full of simmering anger. The next minute, you expect me to turn around and hug everyone in sight. I just can't keep up anymore.

It's not just my emotions. It's my entire life. It is your fault I spent two hours at work yesterday organizing my desk drawer. It is your fault I put my canned goods in alphabetical order. It is your fault that I watched an episode of 7th Heaven.

Let's talk physical factors, ok? I'm 39 years old. I do not need to have zits appearing on my face monthly. I certainly do not need water retention. My hair? My god, what have you done to my hair? Every 28 days it turns into a rat's nest of horror. And the food. Do you not have any sense of decency or fair play? Must you further contribute to my already deflating ego by inflicting a constant desire for chocolate upon my senses? Salt, ice cream, cake, candy....can't you have me crave grapefruit instead?

It's just gotten to the point where I feel you have outlived your usefulness. I can't take it anymore. We had some great moments together (remember that time I listened to that Stabbing Westward song on repeat for 2 straight days?), but it's run it's course. You have become a burden and a major source of annoyance.

So if you would kindly take your things and go, we can part ways with a certain sense of comradery. If you stay any longer, I will be forced to take drastic measure to rid myself of you.

Thank you for your service the past 39 years. Your certificate of appreciation is in the mail.

same as it ever was

same as it ever was

Saturday morning routine:

get up at 4:30

turn on computer

make coffee

check mail

check blog for comments

drink coffee

check stats

go outside and smoke, stare at stars, enjoy the silence

get more coffee

write morning post

And that's where I am at now. Every Saturday is the same damn thing. It's the one day I have some time to myself. The kids are at their dads. Justin sleeps til 11 on Saturdays. Here I am with several hours to do what I want, and I do the same thing each week. In about one hour there will be laundry done. Water changed in the frog tanks. Dishwasher emptied. Blog reading. Today I actually broke with tradition and put on the NIN DVD instead of listening to Incubus's Morning View for the 8.000th time. I feel out of sorts now. I am a creature of habit.

And really, what else is there to do so early on a weekend morning? It's not like I can go anywhere. I could read, watch a movie, clean out some closets, work on the school reading project. I could, but I won't. I'll sit here in front of the computer, getting up only occassionaly to refill the coffee or put some dishes away. Justin will get up eventually and we will clean up a bit more, shower, get dressed and go out. We will spend money on toys and games and unhealthy food and come home around dinner time. We will watch a movie together and then I will go online and do all the checking of blog related things and make another post. I will pass out on the couch before Saturday Night Live gets past the monologue. At some point in the evening there will be sex and cigarettes and perhaps a few glasses of wine. Maybe the wine comes before the sex.

Tonight I get to break with routine. I'm going to a wake. Woohoo! There's living it up for you. There's a bar next door to the funeral parlor and maybe I will have a drink with my sisters or cousins. Maybe.

I want to do something different. I need to do something different. There are always chances to break the cycle. We should go visit Justin's mother in Pennsylvania one weekend. We should go to a movie instead of watching one at home. We should go to the city for comic book shopping. But every time the situation presents itself to do something different, I think of reasons not to. Let's face it. I'm a homebody. I would rather sit here in my comfortable clothes and play video games and watch cartoons than have to put on something decent and hop on a train. My weekdays are a blur of work, kids, cleaning, cooking, homework, projects, school functions, more work. The days fly by. I want to do nothing on the weekends. Yet I feel guilty for doing nothing. I feel like I should be living it up, having an exciting life.

I'm going to make more of an effort to make today different than all the other Saturdays before it. We will go somewhere different, try a new restaurant, have sex in the living room instead of the bedroom. Maybe go out tonight instead of the afternoon. Maybe we will buy something besides movies and video games and comic books. Maybe we could go out east and stare at the water and the boats and walk along the shore or go to the aquarium. Maybe we could invite my sister and her husband over for dinner. Maybe. I'll think it over.

Damn, it's 6:30. Time to put the laundry in and feed the frogs before 7:00 gets here and I have to empty the dishwasher.

January 25, 2002

London calling

London calling

So Melly and I made our way around London today. That is to say, cardboard fascimiles of us made their way around London. From what I hear, I had a good time hanging out with some very interesting people. I seem to have gotten my leg caught in a drink at some point and hey....that's Jessica Alba's body I'm wearing! I heard that Melly and I made our way back to Miguel's hotel room. What he was doing with two pieces of female shaped cardboard I don't know. And I don't want to know.

And who needs the bloggies? My dear friend Shel has given me one of the first every Bobupndown.com Memorial Awards. Yes, I was pleased and honoured (spelled with a "u" just for Shel) to receive The Separated at Birth/Favorite Fag hag award. Yea, so what if 90% of my weblogging friends are gay males? Think of me as a gay male trapped in a woman's (or Jessica Alba's) body. Hell, I don't know who I am. Somedays I want to be Bill. Somedays I want to be Choire. Today, I want to be Meg from Tech TV. But most days, I'm this guy (on the left).

back off my ovaries, bitch!

back off my ovaries, bitch!

What is it about reproduction that makes people think it is a subject that is open for discussion? Nobody has the right to question your plans for having or not having children. Nobody has the right to question your decision to have a baby, how you are raising that baby or what you are naming that baby. Yet there are people who believe it is their god-given right to know everything about your reproductive system and what you are doing with it.

Today, it's someone wanting to know if Justin and I plan on having kids of our own. We don't. I have two children and frankly, it's all I want. Justin does not want any more than what is already in our household. He does not want a baby, he is not concerned about carrying on the family name and I really do not have to explain the myriad reasons to anyone.

Both times I was pregnant, I had to put up with nine months of advice from strangers. And it wasn't just advice, it was judgments. I was stupid for having a baby so soon after I got married. I was hurting my baby by working through my pregnancy. I wasn't eating enough. I was eating too much. I was eating the wrong things. I worked too hard, I didn't get enough exercise, and what did I mean that I wouldn?t name a boy after his father? How ridiculous of me to even think otherwise!

I was actually pregnant a third time, in between Natalie and DJ. I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I heard all kinds of things then. It was the moisturizer I was using, it had bad chemicals in it. I stretched too much at work. I shouldn't have been working at all. I ate the wrong foods. I took toxic vitamins. I shouldn't have taken that long car ride out east. Everyone knows better than you. And they are not afraid to tell you what they think they know.

So now that my kids are older and the people who feel proprietary over babies have lost their desire to give me sage advice, they have had to come up with new and improved ways of sticking their noses into my ovaries. It always comes back to Justin and the emptiness he surely must feel because his sperm will never amount to more than jizz. I've been told I'm selfish. But these people never think to ask Justin how he feels. Is there some unwritten law that everyone must want a baby at some point? I know plenty of couples who are childless by choice, and will remain that way. Justin was very happy to come into a ready made family where the kids were already past diapers and baby food and potty training.

It's all come to a boiling point because we have been talking about getting married this year, maybe in August for my birthday. The assumption is that once we get married, we will think more "seriously" about having more children. You know, I'm going to be 40 in August. My kids are finally at an age where I can take them to a restaurant without dragging along 25 accessories for them. They can get their own food and make their own beds. I'm not about to start over again with an infant. I don't have the time, the money nor the patience it would take. I'm going to be totally honest here. I barely have the patience for the two kids I have now. A third would just about kill me.

So if you are one of those people that dispense advice to every mother or pregnant woman you see, please stop. You are invasive, annoying and mostly full of shit. Your advice is almost always wrong, and 90% of the time it is based on some old wive's tale. Eating strawberries while pregnant will not cause your child to be born with a strawberry shaped birthmark on its forehead. Putting Jack Daniels in your kid's bottle is not really a good idea. You child cannot catch AIDS from playing in the ballpit at Burger King. You cannot tell what sex your child will be by dangling a thread over your belly. If you are not going to offer encouragement or a kind word, please don't say anything at all. Our ovaries, our children and the way we raise them are none of your damn business.

the blame game

the blame game

I'm trying to put myself in the place of John Walker's parents. I imagine myself, standing before the press, facing hundreds of questions about my son's life and motives. And while I don't think I would stand up there and villify him, I can say with certainity that I would not be deflecting responsibility or making him out to be a good guy who just made a mistake. I cringe every time I hear his parents speak. They call him a patriot. They call him a good kid. They evade direct questions by bringing up the issue of Walker's treatment while he was detained.

I'm not coming out either way on what should be done with him, or what he should be tried for. Whether or not his civil rights were violated while he was being held is not really what concerns me. What does is the total lack of acknowldegement on the part of the parents that their son was a member of a terrorist organization. Even if it was not his intention to kill Americans, he still belonged to a group of people that terrorized women, children and other countries. They held mass executions for live audiences. This would not be ok with me as a parent. I would not be looking into a television camera calling my son misguided. Am I the only one who thinks these parents have to accept a certain amount of responsibility for their child's behavior? Or is it just easier for them to pass the blame? They will blame society and the United States government. Years from now Walker will blame his parents as he goes for jailhouse therapy.

The whole issue of passing the buck and not accepting blame could not have been clearer as when I was watching the Enron hearings on C-Span last night. Is it me or is this guy David Duncan being railroaded? He cannot possibly be the only person in all of Arthur Anderson to know that these documents were being shredded. His bosses sat on their fat asses, telling the panel over and over that it was all David Duncan's fault and they knew nothing. This guy is being hung out to dry. There is no way you could ever convince me that none of the in-house attorneys at Arthur Anderson knew of the shredding. Hell, they probably ordered it. And then they picked this one auditor who could be their fall guy. So while Duncan is sitting in the hot seat, pleading the fifth on every questions, all the other Arthur Anderson employees better be sweating under their white collars, because I'm rooting for Duncan to get tired of holding the bag. I'm waiting for him to name names and bring everyone down with him. I'm not saying the guy was right in what he did. He just should not have to have all the blame passed on to him. And for the big guns in that company to think that the panel and the public would believe that only one person shredded these documents, well they either think we are very stupid or they are just monumentally stupid themselves. Then again, if they were smart, they wouldn't be in this mess, would they? Smart people don't leave trails of evidence.

I hate when I get so irate at 5am. It sets a tone for the whole day.

Do me a favor while I'm at work? Go check out D's new digs. The bulletproof punk has risen from the ashes and is currently residing in Acerbia. The new place looks fresh and exciting, which bodes well for me, as D will be doing a redesign of this site. And speaking of redesigns, the bizarre and lovely mecawilson has fixed his place up. Same sick humor, new things to look at. And I am switching to Moveable Type this weekend. I don't know what happened. One minute I'm talking to Shel, the next he's installing MT. I think he brainwashed me. I have this sudden desire to dance to Robbie Willilams. Or with Robbie Williams.

I keep feeling like there was something else I was supposed to say....eh, it's Friday. I have all weekend to bug you.

January 24, 2002

sick with guilt

sick with guilt

A bus driver takes his cargo of little kiddies and drives them over 100 miles from their destination. He has a sawed off shotgun in the bus and ends up in a completely different state with 13 distraught children. So is anyone else thinking it's somewhat ironic that the driver's name is Otto?

So I spent the day being sickly, and I don't think it was the dreaded stomach virus. See, yesterday I met a friend for lunch. I had this huge ass sandwich that was stuffed with a million different things. I had a giant basket of fries. And then we had dessert. Something called Strawberry Tallcake. This wouldn't be so bad, as I usually don't eat that much in a sitting. But when I got home, Justin had obviously spent all day slaving away, making a 3 course dinner. I had to eat it. Even though my stomach was complaining about lunch and I felt like I swallowed Rush Limbaugh whole. Even though I had never been so un-hungry in my life. Because that's the kind of girlfriend I am. The kind that would not want to hurt someone's feelings when they devoted an entire day to making you dinner. I ate. And ate. Because he is the kind of guy that will stand there watching you eat if he cooked dinner. He will interpret your gestures and the faces you make, he will ask a million times if you like it and he will pout if you add salt. So I just smiled and chewed and swallowed. Now I felt like I had swallowed both Rush and Drew Carey.

So it's no wonder I woke up feeling like I had Operation Enduring Freedom going on in my body. And I had to spend all day pretending to Justin like I had a virus because I didn't want to tell him it was his dinner that caused me to heave all over the house. He pampered me as he always does when I'm sick and waited on me hand and foot and now I feel so overwhelmingly guilty that I'm just going to pack it in and go to bed before he says "are you ok? do you need anything?" one more time.

random musings in between vomiting

random musings in between vomiting

I spent an hour writing a post about this and it was all sarcastic and snarky and I was very proud of it. Then my computer had a fit when I tried to listen to the new Nine Inch Nails cd and fritzed out on me. I don't have the mindflow to rewrite the whole thing, so let's just say it was funny yet meaningful and quoted Kermit the Frog and leave it at that.

Someone offered to buy me a Free Winona t shirt but I'll have to pass because a) I really don't like her and b) my time is better spent working on freeing ODB.

Someone came here looking for michele+justin+a small victory and I have an idea who it was, so please make yourself known, it's ok. I erased all the posts where I called you a whore and a bitch.

So am I reading this whole thing wrong, or should Patty Hearst just shut the fuck up and thank her maker that she's not rotting behind bars?

Rapper C-Murder was charged with murder. Go figure.

And lastly, I really thought That 80's Show would, at the very least, make me chuckle wryly and nod my head while I relived all those crazy moments from my early 20's. But there was no self-destructive speed-freak girl who hung out in seedy night clubs and dated ex cons. I just couldn't identify.

That is all I can muster for now. It's one of those blog for the sake of blogging moments.

who is wil wheaton and why does he have a weblog?

who is wil wheaton and why does he have a weblog?

I had been watching a rather nasty stomach virus make its way around town here. Schools, my office, my relatives...I thought I would get through it unscathed. Not so. It's here and it's vengeful. I'll be spending a good portion of my day in front of the computer and the rest...well you really don't want to know that, do you?

The 2nd Annual Bloggie Award nominees were announced today. I would like to congratulate some really wonderful, talented people who deservedly got bloggie nominations. I won't say anything about the people who got nominations that were totally uncalled for, but the evidence of a popularity contest is overwhelming when Fark gets nominated for best political weblog and photodude doesn't. I just hope the people who really deserve the awards come out winners. You can say "it's just a dumb award" as much as you want to, but there are some people who deserve to be recognized for their efforts, and I'm very happy for them.

I am now going to pray in the altar I constructed for the pepto bismol god.

January 23, 2002

curse of the civil servants

curse of the civil servants

I work with cretins. Maybe it's a requirement of government agencies that 90% of the workforce has to have IQs lower than that of a turtle. And of those 90%, at least half of them must have no common sense, no sense of decorum and no class.

There's the two mail people, one older than time itself and the other a portly, greasy slimeball who stands in my doorway and strikes a pose as he asks if I have any files going out. Together, they look like Ren and Stimpy and I giggle whenever they walk past the door. The woman is a crotchety, belligerent drunk who probably was a whore at some point in her life. She tells me graphic stories of sexual abuse in her family, even though I am wearing dictaphone headphones (I don't really do dictaphone, but I put the headphones on when she comes in as a defense).

Most of the women here are over 60 and do not dress for success. They wear the badges of civil service; brightly colored polyester slacks, sweaters embroidered with uplifting sayings or holiday emblems, beehive hairdos and garish lipstick that is mostly worn on their teeth.

Is this my future? At some point, do all civil servants become freaks of nature? Will I start wearing polyster and washing my hair only once a week? I'm afraid, very afraid. I try to envision myself here, at this desk, ten years from now. I don't like what I see. I have this vision of myself, sitting at the computer, reading glasses perched on nose (glasses hanging from a chain of course), saying something like "Damn this newfangled technology! I could be home watching my stories on the tv!" It's not what I want to become, but I think it's written in the by-laws of career choices somewhere that I have no choice.

Ian came up with a list of career options, but unfortunately, I am not qualified for my number one choice of rock star, and street performance is out. I believe I am chained to a job where some days the most challenging thing is getting the New York Law Journal to fold back into the shape it came in.

I like my job, I really do. It's the company I'm forced to keep here that I can't stand. They probably don't like me much either, but that's mainly because of the Bible Pamphlet incident.

So I guess I'm stuck here, but I sure would like to have some kind of guidance as to how to prevent myself from becoming the stereotypical government employee. As it is, I've spent this whole day printing out Boondocks strips and covering my whole bulletin board with them. I've already mastered the "evade real work at all costs" law of goverment work. There has to be an antidote to the civil servant curse. Garlic cloves, wooden stakes, holy water - someone give me a clue as to how to combat the evil that is getting ready to plague me.

you've got to be carefully taught

you've got to be carefully taught

Natalie saw a movie on the KKK in school yesterday. She came home with a million questions, most of them sounding very much like "what the hell is wrong with people?"

She has known of the existence of the KKK for a while, ever since she was six and asked if she could wear one of those "white-hooded costumes" she saw on CNN for Halloween. When I explained what those costumes stood for, in the best way you can explain such things to a six year old, she cried. She spent the next several days fearful, looking over her shoulder at every corner. She was afraid the KKK was coming to get her. She couldn't justify this fear, it was just there.

So six years later, she wants to talk about it again. She is no longer afraid, she is just angered and bewildered. She hears other kids in her class talking in a way that scares her, and I explain that they are probably just emulating what they hear from older siblings or, sadly, their parents, and hopefully they will change their tune one day. "People never change," she says to me. "I think once you grow up like that, to think that, you believe it your whole life." She then asks about the children of racists, if they are taught to believe the things their parents do. Most children are brought up to believe the things their parents do, I tell her. If a parent believes they are absolutely right in their belief, they pass that belief on to their children. It's how some kids learn to hate rather than love.

"Well, I just wanted you to know that I got into a fight today over it." I say nothing. She interprets my silence as a cue to go on. "Danny Avery said that white people are better than black people."

"Didn't Danny Avery also say that last year, in 5th grade?" I ask.

"Yea, but I didn't say anything to him then. I just walked away."

"So what did you do this time?"

"I told him to prove it to me. And he just stood there and looked at me funny. And then he just repeated himself, like, (she makes herself sound like a slightly stupid 12 year old boy here) ohhh white people are better, just know that, ok? and so I said if he thinks that then maybe he should take off the Bernie Williams shirt he was wearing and get like, a Chuck Knoblauch shirt."

"Chuck Knoblauch??" I say, incredulous.

"It was all I could think of. I know, lame."

"So what did he say?"

"He called me an idiot and then he like, got up off of his chair and it looked like he was going to come after me but he was faking me out, and then I just said he had a lot to learn about life and I left to go to band."

"Good, you handled it ok, Nat."

We drive in silence for a few more minutes. Then I hear her say something.

"What, I didn't hear you."

"I said I'm sorry."

"For what?"

"For that time in first grade when I wanted to be the KKK for halloween. I didn't know."

"It's ok. You know now. Even better, you understand." I think how proud I am of her for going from fearing racists to wanting to fight them. Dangerous, yes. But in my own strange way of parenting, I'm proud of that.

Sometimes I look at her when she is acting like a true pre-teen girl, whining and crying one minute and screaming in anger the next, dramatic and annoying and so self-involved it's scary. I think about the other moments, the moments like the above conversation and it makes me think there's hope. That she won't always be this gum-cracking, smartass girl who thinks the world revolves around her. Somewhere in there, is a really good hearted young adult waiting to get out.

January 22, 2002

B to the Ling

B to the Ling

I come out of work today and head towards the parking lot. As I'm about to open my car door I'm accosted by a rather haggard looking man. He grabs my shoulder and speaks animatedly, but I have no idea what language he is speaking. I'm trying to make out at least the last word, which sounds like either schwing or bring.

"Excuse me?" I say. "Bring?"

I notice he has no teeth. He may be speaking English for all I know, but it's hard to sound coherent without teeth.

"mumblemumble ling ling"

"Ling?" I think maybe he's asking me for money, but I can't be sure. He's exasperated.

"mumblemumble bling"

I look at him quizically. "Bling bling?" I ask.

He stares for a moment, his hand still on my shoulder. Then he breaks out into a wide, toothless grin.

"Bling Bling!!!" He says, excitedly.

He then reaches into his sweatshirt and pulls out a gold chain. At the end of the chain is a large, plastic, gold colored dollar sign. He tilts back his head and laughs.

"Bling Bling!" he cries, and walks away.

here's the mail.....

here's the mail...

Last night dreams involved driving a wooden stake into a large china doll, which then spewed blood; being nine months pregnant and sucking on a helium balloon while riding in the car with that idiot from Project Greenlight; being an undercover agent, forgetting my gun at home and trying to apprehend a suspect (a 15 year old girl who stole and was in a public bathroom taking a pee when I tried to arrest her) with a cooler bag - the kind you would stick a six of beer in before going to the ballgame. It worked. So it was a long night of complicated dreams with sub plots and recurring characters and lots of action. That said, I'm tired this morning. And a bit bemused.

I've been getting email lately, more than my usual share. Generally, my email, besides notes from friends and dirty jokes from my mother, consists of a lot of empty promises of bigger breasts, smaller waists, fatter wallets and a bigger penis, which I have no use for. Or maybe I do. If they could send me just the giant penis, with no person attached to it, it could save me a whole lot of batteries.

The past week or so I've seen an increase in blog related mail. I occasionally get mail from readers, most wanting to take me to task for being "Anti-American" i.e., speaking out against our country's policies on various issues. You know, practicing my freedom of speech. Sometimes I get mail from extremist religious people who think I should go to hell. Go to hell and die. In that order. There's the sporadic marriage proposal, one from a woman even, the offers of wild monkey sex and people who want me to be their mom. And then there's the people who want me to be their mom during wild monkey sex. We won't go there.

I find most of that mail amusing. What I find not so amusing is the mail from people who demand things of my weblog. I've talked about this before; the people who get tired when I write about my kids and the people who want to hear less about my kids and more about politics, or more about my kids and job and less about Rumsfeld being the anti-christ, etc. etc. I tend to not reply to people who want to limit what I should or shouldn't write about. If you are going to send me an email to that effect, at least try to be funny, then I'll write you back.

Meanwhile, I will answer some of their burnign questions here. These are from the past few days:

You haven't talked about politics or George Bush in almost a week. You didn't even say anything about the pretzel. Have you gone Republican?

There's more to life than my hatred for Bush and Rumsfeld. I was on a mini-hiatus when Bush choked on the pretzel. Don't read more into that than necessary. I've already been questioned and released.

How come you only talk about the two kids, the boy and the girl? You said once you had like 5 kids. So where are the other ones? Boarding school?

I have two children. If I have more than that, then it must have been like Gremlins, where they mutliplied by being dipped in water or something. I keep them locked in a closet and only take them out when I need someone to help me hand out subversive literature to Young Republicans.

How come your link too so many blogs by gay people? Are you really gay? Do you want to be gay? Do you dream abou tbeing a gay guy? what with your fasination with that? Do you hang out with gay people or do you have any firends that are more like you? Admit it you are really a gay guy and you are fooling everyone." *grammar and spelling left in original condition

I link to many blogs by married women, too. Does that make me really a married woman? Or mean that I want to be one? If I linked to a Christian blog would that make me a Christian? If I link to blogs by tall people does that make me tall or mean that I want to be tall or am I fooling you all and I really am not 5'2"? Do I hang around with people like me? How fucking boring would it be to hang around with only people that are just like you? How much of a sheltered life to you lead to think that people should only be in a circle of friends that think alike? Is there any diversity in your life? Or are all your friends shallow, dull, dim witted, ignorant assholes?

And that's the mailbag for today. At least the ones I felt were coherent enough to repeat.

January 21, 2002

game of the day

meat product game of the day

Anyone remember band sausages? Back when this blog was on Freeservers, I used to have all sorts of games and contests. One was band sausages, which is where you take two or more bands and combine their names together to make a whole new band. Example: The Beastie Boyz II Men, The Crystal Methods Of Mayhem, Grateful Dead or Alive. Get it? There's no real hardcore rules. Be creative. Squeeze as many bands as you can in, like this person did the last time I played this game: Shakespear's Sisters of Mercyful Fate's Warning . If you played the last time, feel free to repeat your answers, as I did not archive that page.

*I originally got the idea from this site but I can't seem to find the original page this was on. Just wanted to give credit for the name of the game.

Ok, pack some band sausage!

straight up

straight up

I had a dream I was fly fishing with Paula Zahn, and when the sun set, she turned into Paula Abdul.

Today we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. We take these holidays seriously in my house. My children are both history buffs (which explains the whole Ethan Allen thing), so when a presidential or famous person holiday comes along, we talk about that person. Last year on this day, Natalie recited the "I Have a Dream" speech for us. And then we talked about what it means, and what each of us can do to help that dream along. Which, whenever this is discussed, leads me to tell this story:

This was many years ago, right about this time of year. Natalie must have been in kindergarten. She was doing something to annoy me. It must have been very annoying because I remember chasing her through the house, yelling at her. Finally, she ran into her room and hid under her bed. I was still yelling. She peeks her head out and screams:

"How are you going to keep Martin Luther King's dream alive if you keep yelling at me like that??"

Yes, my children learned at an early age how to combine their home life with what they learn in school in one big, manipulative package. But I suppose she did get the point of the lesson, so it's all good.

-the golden globes of blogs-

I would like to welcome the visitors who have come here today from Francis Strand's My Way Blog Awards. I wasn't going to say anything, so as not to seem self-serving that this blog was mentioned, but I've been enjoying Francis's blog for a while now and I think you would too. The big winner was, deservingly, East/West , and Nancy received a fluffer certificate of merit.

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to Francis for putting the awards on and giving me oh so many new blogs to read. It's a wonder I ever get anything accomplished. Hmm. Have I gotten anything accomplished?

January 20, 2002

the agony of defeat, the moral dilemma of playstation

the agony of defeat, the moral dilemma of playstation

Bah. Damn.

I had a feeling they would lose. But not this big. I'm consoled, however, by the fact that I bought DJ his Playstation 2 today. Now for the moral dilemma...His birthday is not until the 30th. How rude would it be of me to open it up and play with it when he's sleeping and then put it back in the box and wrap it next week?

fumbling towards the superbowl

fumbling towards the superbowl

Maybe putting this image here last week was a good luck charm. Who am I to mess with luck? As hopelessly devoted to the Pack that I am, I realize that The Rams are a formidable opponent and today's game may not have the happy ending that last week's did. Either way, I'm proud of The Pack and I have once again spent a season watching Bret Favre have the most fun anyone has ever had playing football. How can you not love this guy?

I dozed off towards the end of the Pats/Raiders game last night. It was a fun game, played in the snow the way football should be played. But when I woke up several minutes after the game ended, I did a what the fuck happened?? double take. From all accounts, Brady fumbled. Dodd is none too happy about the turn of events, and who can blame him? This non-call will rank right up there with the Jeffrey Maier fiasco, or the Jerry Rice fumble that wasn't. I would rather the Raiders won, given my disdain for the Pats, but that's sports. You are always at the whim of officiating, even with instant replay.

Getting my cheeshead out. Got my jersey ready. Got a nice bottle of wine, and we will see whether it will be used to celebrate or to drown my sorrows in.

for the birds

for the birds

Early yesterday morning, before the snow, before the clouds even, there were birds. There are always birds here because we have so many trees, but this was different. It wasn't just the throng of the little brown guys that hang around the bird feeder all winter fighting with the squirrels. It was all kinds of birds. Swooping and diving over the house, calling to each other, making a racket and having a big old bird get-together.

[story continued here]

I had my camera out, like I do every morning. I have yet to get a picture of the birds by the feeder; it's like they can feel my presence even when I am quiet and barefoot, and they flutter away before I am within six feet of them. So I was trying once again to get a photo of them. Then I noticed the cardinals. There were two of them, bright red and looking out of place, sitting on the telephone wire. I was so startled to see them, I fumbled for my camera, making a whole lot of noise in the process. The brown birds glanced at me, annoyed yet again, and flew off with a racket. The cardinals took flight and headed towards the backyard. I followed their path and ended up in my aunt's yard, where two more cardinals were resting on the stone statues in the garden. The other two joined them, one perched on angel and one on the eagle. The other two had been sitting on my aunt's virgin mary statue (doesn't every Italian aunt have one of those?) and they took off as the other two cardinals came down and stopped on the cement brick fence behind them. I took several pictures in quick succession, afraid the birds would scurry away before I could get a good shot in. But they stayed there, looking at me and almost preening for the camera. A squirrel came along, balancing himself on top of the fence, quietly approaching the cardinals. I snapped a pictures just as the squirrel leaped and the birds flew away, leaving the squirrel pawing at air.

I was about to head in when I heard the screeching. Not the sound of one bird, but the sound of many. Seagulls. I recognized the screech immediately. I walked around the front of the house in time to see about forty seagulls land on my neighbors roof. They would perch there, look around and then swarm through the sky, making a complete circle, and land on the roof again. Then, as if they had choreographed it beforehand, one seagull at a time would take off from the roof, circle above my house, and land on the telephone wire above me, making that irritating noise the whole time.

The arrival of the flock of seagulls brought out the curious. First the squirrels, who stood on the branches of the oak tree in the front of the yard, facing the seagulls and perhaps staring them down. Then the two flocks of small brown birds, maybe about 100 to a flock, one coming from the left and one from the right. They would fly, grouped together in the shape of a diamond, all coming out of one tree in a cacaphony of chirping. Swoop up, swoop down. All harmonized and synchronized. They would come down low, brush by the squirrels, and then head up again with a furious flapping of wings, past the seagulls on the wire, higher and higher until they were pinholes in the sky. Then they would dive back again with a furious speed, making the seagulls and squirrels take off, all the running and wing beating and screeching and chirping making a soundtrack for this wild scene.

Meanwhile the cardinals sat there like the cool kids in school, the ones who couldn't be bothered to join in whatever game was going on in the parking lot. If they had cigarettes, they would have been smoking them. The four of them stood there, watching their fellow birds, and I could almost swear they were shaking their heads in disdain.

It started to snow then, little, sproradic flakes at first, and then a bigger flurry, until it was really snowing hard. By now my hands were frozen and I had finished the film, taking two complete rolls of nothing but birds and squirrels. I stood a few seconds longer and watched the seagulls disappear into the snow, their screeches getting dimmer and dimmer until it was all quiet again. The brown birds must have vanished into their trees, away from the snow, and the cardinals were gone. Only the squirrels remained, still on the branches of the oak tree. I'm sure they were gloating that they had won, for once I disappeared into the house, they were the last ones standing in the yard.

January 19, 2002

News at 11...or not

News at 11...or not

Big storm on the way. I'm mostly excited, I like the first snow of the year. But I would much rather have it during the week so I can get a day off from work.

So I went to the grocery store this morning - not in anticipation of the weather, I'm not one of those "prepare for the end of the world when a storm is coming" people - but because I had the urge to make steak tonight. I get to the store and there's a local reporter out there, questioning everyone about the snow, because you know how those news people love a good storm story. He was asking shoppers what they were buying, what were they stocking up on (come on people, it's 6 inches, not 3 feet!) and asking how they were getting ready for the weather. I see him approaching me as I walk towards the entrance. I'm not in a very good mood. Traffic was bad, I'm tired and cranky. I do not want to be on the news talking about buying toilet paper and water. So he stands in front of me, cameraman in tow, and throws the microphone in front of my face.

"So," he says, "What are you buying today m'am?"

I say nothing but this does not deter him.

"Are you stocking up on necessities for the first storm of the year?"

I look straight into the camera and grin.

"I'm buying Tampons," I say.

His jaw drops, the cameraman giggles and I brush past him and head into the store. Let's assume I will not be on the news tonight.

The killer bunnies are coming!

The killer bunnies are coming!

I was reading a lovely post about B-movies over at houseogroove this morning. And it got me started.

My mother loved to take us to see horror movies. I was ten when she took me to see Asylum, the movie that started me on my love of horror. The real cheese came later, when I was about 14 years old and she took me to see Food of the Gods, an eco-thriller with mutant animals (based on the H.G. Wells novel).

So thinking about that one reminded me of another eco-thriller funfest, Night of the Lepus. You never heard of it, did you? It's a great mutant animal movie, starring giant killer rabbits. No, let's rephrase that. Killer bunnies. They weren't even mean looking rabbits. They were cute and fluffy. The special effects in this movie were horrible, laughable even. There's one part where you can actually see a guy in a bunny suit, and when they are burning bunnies (yes, burning bunnies), you can easily see that one is a stuffed animal.

When I was little, there was a 4:00 movie every weekday on channel 9, before talk tv and court shows took over that time slot. It was there that our family viewing led us to such wonderous films as Empire of the Ants, starring Joan Collins. Many of those 4:00 movies were of the horror nature, and I only wish I could remember them all. Probably the scariest was Devil's Rain, not only because of the face-melting scene at the end, but because it starred Ernest Borgnine, who was scary in his own right. It also featured a very young John Travolta and church of Satan founder Anton Lavey. For those that take pleasure in such things, Travolta meets a horrific fate in the film.

It seemed that most of the films shown on the 4:00 movie involved evil towns. There would always be a stranger moving into the town, and he/she would discover a horrible secret that the townsfolk had kept hidden. The stranger would then be chased, antagonized, stalked and threatened, and ultimately either meet his maker at the hands of the evil townsfolk (the creepy ending) or save the day by brandishing garlic or burning down the town (the heroic ending). There was this one movie about a town full of witches. I can only remember that they were dressed sort of Amish-like and the creepy ending had the nosy stranger laying in a freshly dug hole in the ground, while the witch-like neighbors took turns throwing dirt on top of her/him. I can still see that scene vividly in my mind, yet I can't recall anything else about the movie, including the name.

Then there was Thriller Theater, or Chiller Theater, or Chiller Thriller theater, I cannot for the life of me remember. It was on mostly late at night, but would sometimes appear on a Saturday afternoon. The opening credits had a hand raising out of a grave, and the hand had six fingers.

Keep in mind all of the above was required family viewing. The family that watches horror movies together, grows up weird together, as the saying goes. It's all my mom's fault. I used to get out of school at 3:20 and she would practically throw me in the car and do 90 all the way home because Dark Shadows started at 3:30.

Anyhow, the point of this post (if there was one..I started writing this an hour ago but got distracted with all the horror movie links) was to see if anyone out there can help me remember some of those really cheesy made for tv horror movies from the 70s. Or just tell me what your favorite campy horror movie is. Or anything. Anything to keep from doing all the things I am supposed to be doing but can't seem to bring myself to do.

thinking and linking

thinking and linking

You know what kind of day it's going to be when you are listening to Atari Teenage Riot at 4:30 a.m.

So I've been sitting here for an hour staring at my links. They are out of control. I weeded a little, took out some things I haven't read in a long time or that haven't updated in a long time. I've been afraid to weed for a long time because I do not want to insult anyone. Let's be realistic, folks. I do not read every blog in that sidebar every day. In the words of Ralph Wiggum, that's umpossible! But I leave them up there not because I am saying I read them every day (though there are a select few I never miss), I'm just giving you some options if you are looking for new blogs.

The sad thing is, I was able to take some links out, but I added even more than I deleted. I can't help it. I love blogs. I love reading other people's thoughts. I love the humor and warmth and intelligence I find on other blogs, the differing opinions, the personal sagas and triumphs. I may get swiffered some day, but I know I will just add the links back on. So today I added leuschke, freedexter, surblimity, houseogroove, luminescent,the other side, digital nap, interesting monstah and jonno (just go to the sidebar and click. Don't make me put in all the links right here).

Some day I will put them in some kind of order. Or try to figure out how Chris does the rotating link thing. I could put all of them on one page and just have 5 at a time up there. Or I could just go with the status quo and leave it be. Keep adding and deleting and adding and deleting and maybe update the diversions page to reflect any blog that has been in my sidebar. Oh hell. Why am I even spending my Saturday morning agonizing over this? I have things to do. Places to go. People to see. Blogs to read. Coffee to drink.

Oh, and I am going to have drinks with Baz next weekend. I am ultra excited. So I will be in Manhattan swilling alcohol and Baz and I are going to take over the city that night. If anyone wants to join us, let me know. Especially you. We are practically insisting you come.

January 18, 2002

you tell me

you tell me...

I tend to say the phrase "what does that say about me" a lot. Especially after conversations involving sex and/or personal hijinks. So, while waiting two hours in a doctors office today for DJ to get his sore throat checked out, I thought about all of the others ways in which I could bring that phrase up.

what does it say about me that I noticed my shampoo and body wash have the exact same ingredients, right down to the dye color, yet I would never use the body wash on my hair or the shampoo on my body even though they are the exact same thing?

what does it say about me that when I go to a friends house and they show off their Lladros and Hummels I tell them how proud I am of my comic book and action figure collection?

what does it say about me that I think nothing of going into a store and dropping over 200 dollars on video games and accessories, yet I agonize over half an hour over buying a 26 dollar bra for myself?

what does it say about me I told my eleven year old daughter that it was perfectly ok if she did not want to join in the pledge of allegiance in school, and was even proud of her for standing up for that right?

what does it say about me that I bought my daughter a new jacket because the one she had seemed to be worn by just about every other girl in school and she looked like a sheep?

what does it say about me that I would rather take a vacation that involved going to a Comicon rather than heading for a romantic island or Disneyworld?

what does it say about me I have 89 channels on my digital cable yet all I seem to watch is Tech TV?

what does it say about me I think Red Meat and Captain Ribman are hysterically amusing, yet I think that Family Circus is utter evil?

what does it say about me given the choice between eternal youth or an eternal pot of coffee, I would choose the coffee?

what does it say about me I would rather listen to the screeching sound of cats in heat than be subjected to Creed?

what does it say about me one year after starting to blog, I am still obsessed with my daily stats?

what does it say about me that I get up at 4:30 a.m. every day, even on weekends?

what does it say about me that I actually sat here for an hour writing these things out?*

*actually twenty minutes, but over an hour with a break for personal hijinks

more stuff you didn't want to know about me

more stuff you didn't want to know about me

Blogger Insider, Part 4. Courtesy of Manuel.

1. Would you agree that the only way to move on from old experiences that are keeping you down is to replace them with new things?

Absolutely not. While itís good to move on from old experiences, it also helps to never forget them. Thatís how you learn and grow. Always remember the places you have come from.

2. Complete this sentence: Being a parent has made me realize it's a lot more __ than I thought it was.

Frightening. I always new it would be rewarding, aggravating, hard and gratifying. I never thought it would be frightening, though.

3. Elvis or the Beatles?

The Beatles are the most overrated band in the history of the world. Elvis brings up all kinds of wonderful memories of my childhood. And he could shake his groove thang like nobodyís business.

4. You seem to dislike the criminal justice system in the US. If you could change something about it, what would it be?

Plea bargaining.

Also I would change it from the inside out. Here in New York, judges are elected and run for office based on political affiliation. I think judges should be appointed by merit. Then you get into the court system, the prison system, our propensity for punishing rather than rehabilitating, the death penalty. How is it that a man can get 1 year in prison for sexually abusing his stepdaughter for 5 years, but a guy with an ounce of pot will probably spend a longer time than that behind bars?

5. You one used the phrase "vim and vigor." (Maybe more than once.) Do you like ginger tea? Ginger products? Ginger candies? You should try them.

I love ginger, especially fresh ginger. I cook with it often. I also like ginger on my vegetables rolls, ginger tea, and ginger sesame dressing. I do not like gingerbread houses because they remind me of Hansel and Gretel.

6. When was the last time you REALLY looked at some porn, intentionally?

Last Saturday.

7. Did you enjoy it?

I always enjoy it, otherwise I wouldnít look at it. You really do not want to know about my masturbatory experiences, do you?

8. When you were 21, what was your dream, I mean what did you see yourself doing at the age you are at now? Are you in line with that dream, or did it change?

When I was 21, it was 1983. That was one of the best years of my life. For the first half of that year, I had no thoughts of dreams or the future. At least not realistic ones. Most of my time was spent either at clubs, dancing to really cheesy new wave, or in my friendís garage listening to his band. Then the last half of the year, reality set in. I broke off a bad engagement, changed jobs and went back to college. At that point I thought I would eventually be an English teacher or a librarian. I knew enough then that what you want to do at 21 and what you end up doing arenít necessarily the same thing. The only thing I knew for sure at that point was that I always wanted to be the kind of person that never compromised my ideals. For some reason that was incredibly important to me and I think Iíve held on to that. Iím sure that when I was 21 I thought that by this point in my life I would be rich and famous and happy. Iím happy, and thatís the part that really matters. My dream has definitely changed. Rich and famous donít figure in at all. My dream is a simple one - to live a comfortable, pleasant life and to raise my kids to be open minded, non-materialistic and honest.

9. Is poop funny?

If Adam Sandler or Tom Green are doing poop jokes, they are not funny. If mecawilson is talking about poop, itís hilarious. If an 8 year old is making poop jokes, itís the kind of funny where you turn your head and laugh because you donít want the little kiddies to know that adults appreciate bathroom humor, too.

10. Are Bert and Ernie gay?

The sexual preference of puppets is none of my business. And itís Ernie and Bert. Not Bert and Ernie.

who is this man of mystery?

who is this man of mystery?

moshpitlogo2 (37k image)

I thought I was the only one who wouldn't be able to find D. But I was going through Natalie's pictures of her Backstreet Boys concert today and lo and behold, there is D, getting his groove on and yelling out Nick's name. You never know where this guy will turn up.

Where's D? And who is he?

He's the man that would risk his neck for his brother man...He's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about. This cat is a bad mother..He's a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman.

Happy Birthday, D. You're a strange guy, but a good friend.

January 17, 2002

and then he morphed into dick cheney....

and then he morphed into dick cheney....

Well, that was fun. Oh, wait..did I say fun? I meant to say tedious.

So, the president of the Builder's club is a 13 year old boy with a penchant for big words and little suits. He was this short, skinny kid, the kind of kid who will look in his middle school yearbook years from now and die of delayed embarassment. Kind of like me. He was wearing a navy blue 3 piece suit. His hair was greased back. And he made his speech and pronouncements like the 40 year old accountant that he will be some day. So he is making his speech about how wonderful the Builders club is (it is) and how they really went all out in giving to the community this year (they did) and how every student in the club is better for having spent a good portion of their year doing for others (they are). But then he got to the part about the war. I have no idea how the war came into it, but this 13 year old half man/half adult went into a ten minute rant, raging against the pro-war faction and declaring every person in Afghanistan is nothing more than a victim and they really just want to be American allies and we need to support the people of that country like we would each other and come together in this time of need and wave our flags and be vigilant and.....it was at about that point that he turned into Donald Rumsfeld and I pretended to be really interested in my salad to keep myself from running at him with my plastic knife.

Anyhow, despite the presence of our Secretary of Defense in a little boy's soul, it was very nice to see my daughter get up there and receive her little Kiwanis pin. It's a great character building experience for her, and lord knows with a mother like me, she's going to have to get her character from somewhere besides home.

books and dinner

books and dinner

While I thank you all very much for your contributions to my book list, I said PICTURE BOOKS. QUICK READS! However, I will put all of the longer books on the recommended readings lists that will go into the packets for the home reading program, so I do thank you for those too. You all came up with great suggestions. I pretty much had an extensive list going already, but I always like to hear what other people are reading and I was able to add some fun books to the suggested reads. When I got home today, I took out the Harold and the Purple Crayon books that were in my closet and went over them. Damn, that kid looks just like my nephew! So, does anyone want to help me make the Parents as Reading Partners website? I started one on blogspot and then I remembered that I am web-building illiterate. Actually, I just have a few questions for anyone who uses blogspot as a host.

What are you doing for dinner tonight? I bet you don't envy my plans. I'll be in a school cafeteria, dining on baked ziti made by the science teacher's wife at the Builder's Club Induction Ceremony Dinner. It's nice to see the kids, especially my kid, involved in a great community centered club. But did they have to invite people from the local Kiwanis to make speeches? Can we say snooze fest? I just hope that somewhere in this two hour talk-a-thon someone does something bloggable. That's my theory on going to events you don't want to attend: just hope it's blogworthy.

question/favor of the day

question/favor of the day

LVery little sleep. Bad dreams. Big headache. In lieu of morning blog, a question instead. This one is designed so you can help me out with a project. I'm compiling a list of children's books (preferably picture books) that can be read to classrooms (k-5) in a relatively quick amount of time by community members.

So...what is your favorite children's book, either one that was read to you or one that you would read to a child? Feel free to expound on why you enjoy the book.

*please note that I have to have this list available tomorrow. So comment early and often. Thank you.

January 16, 2002

running at the mouth

running at the mouth

Floating in this cosmic jacuzzi

we are like frogs, oblivious to the water starting to boil

No one flinches, we all flow face down...

When she woke in the morning

She knew that her life had passed her by

And she called out a warning

Don't ever let life pass you by

my day in a nutshell: (a rather large nutshell)

The people I work for are public elected officials in a position of honor and dignity. Yet they act like grade school kids and expect me to play the part of play ground monitor. I am not paid enough to mediate catfights between grown men who spend the working portion of their day making life and death decisions on the fate of our citizens and when the robes are off and the doors are closed, resort to name calling and back stabbing. I can go home and get that same shit with my kids, you know?

But it's all good. When I got home there was a package in the mailbox from one of my favorite people in the world. Chris was kind enough to send a cd of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds live at Royal Albert Hall. This is in preparation for May, when Justin and I will be joining Chris in NYC to go see Nick live. The same week that the Spiderman movie comes out. Kick ass. Thank you, Chris. You rock a whole hell of a lot.

So, the rest of my day was pretty uneventful, except for that moment at work when I found a memo that listed the menu for some union sponsored event. The main course is Herb Rubbed the Chicken Breasts. I don't think the "the" was supposed to be in there. Either that, or Herb is a real pervert.

And just how sad of a pathetic geek am I? So sad that this all makes perfect sense to me.

So I had a great day and I owe most of it to a) Candi, the Queen of Self Esteem, for her suggestions at improving my sense of self worth; Bill and Miss B for emails; and my mother, who sent me some really dirty jokes in the mail, and I had a good laugh thinking about these senior citizen librarians sitting around at work making jokes about dick size and anal sex.

And whoever came here looking for "blow jobs+asmallvictory.net," I don't take credit cards, ok? Cash only

power bars for the soul

power bars for the soul

bbar_new (56k image)

Nutrition for your soul? Or just some clever marketing by organic food suppliers?

I stopped at the bagel place on my way to work today. Next to the bagel store, which is, ironically called Heavenly Bagels, is a Christian bookstore. Plastered on the window of that store were posters for bible nutrition. What caught my eye was not really the bible bar, but the poster proclaiming the bible nutrition system to be "Nutrition the way God intended it." There's a whole slew of products you can buy, all specially designed to get your stomach as close to god as possible.

It says "helps regulate appetite," but with those kind of ingredients, it's gonna regulate more than that. All your biblical nutrients are gonna end being flushed if you know what I mean.

The more man processes his food, the less biblical it is, so sayeth the makers of biblical nutrition products. I don't know about you, but when I eat, I don't make my food decisions based on whether it's spiritually acceptable. I can see the point about not eating additives and eating organic food, but I can't condone the idea of using god as a marketing tool, even if I am an atheist.

Notice the lack of apples in the ingredients.

Yep, I am in a blogging mood tonight. More of my astounding day after I eat some non-religious Kentucky Fried Chicken.

the post semi-hiatus mixed bag of metaphors and crap

the post semi-hiatus mixed bag of metaphors and crap

I wasn't going to post today. I was going to just post sporadically for the next few days. But my mornings are not the same without it. I am a person of routine and plan. My mornings for the past 11 months have been started by doing this, and it throws me off a bit when I don't. I need to begin and end my day with writing in this space here, because it has become part of my life. That, and I have been told that when I don't blog, I tend to talk too much.

I've learned a lot about myself the past few days. Mostly, I learned that carrying baggage around is only going to make your life difficult. It's not always easy to let go of that baggage, though. It's sort of like an appendage, and no matter how burdensome or self-defeating it is, it's just there. It won't disappear unless you work at it.

I alway said the best thing about being in a relationship with someone younger than myself is the lack of baggage he comes with (well, that's not the best thing about a younger guy, but we won't get into that). So here I am, with a past that won't leave me alone, a past that has scarred me in many ways.

I started dating my ex in 83. We were married in 89. He left in 97. That's 14 years of bullshit I've taken with me into my relationship with Justin. I didn't really expect that 14 years worth of turmoil would disappear in 3 years of near bliss. It takes more than that. Love doesn't erase your past. You have to want to let it go. You first have to be aware of what you are carrying before you can make the decision to throw it overboard. In fairness to Justin...why should he have to carry around my old problems? Why should he have to face the wrath of my past? It became so clear to me this week. I react to my own insecurities, my own voices that are still lingering in my head from those years instead of reacting to him, and the here and now.

It's frightening how the past sets up shop in your mind and your soul and stays there, like a tree rooting for life. You have no idea it's been growing there until it's too late, and you are choking on the branches and limbs that have invaded your life by now.

So, in keeping with the metaphors I've set up in my pre-caffienated 5am state, I am cutting down the branches and throwing the baggage in the dump and in general, letting go of a lot of things. Once I realized it, once I saw what I was doing and how it was destroying what I have now, it was so easy to say, let it go. It was so easy to say, stop reacting to your past. It may not be as easy to actually act upon it when the situation arises, but at least now I can look honestly at a situation and see it for what it is. I can recognize the feel of those branches reaching up and strangling me. Knowing what's choking you is half the battle, because now I know how to fight it.

Perhaps I have made no sense whatsover. That's ok. It made sense to me, and I needed to write it out and see the words and remember and look at this every time I feel the familiar sense of my defenses going up. I've made a huge adjustment to my psyche this week. Things are going to be ok from here.

I'm done with this subject for now. Your regularly scheduled cynical blogging will resume.

January 15, 2002

is this what they mean by communion?

is this what they mean by communion?

So Natalie comes home from school today singing this song. The song is wrong in and of itself. The main lyric is "if momma meets jesus tonight." It's way too sappy, way too depressing and just...wrong. if momma meets jesus tonight.

Now, you know how people sometimes mishear lyrics? And they sing the wrong lyrics so openly, so righteously, because they think that's the way the lyrics go, no matter how bizarre it makes the song. So we were sitting in a restaurant tonight, eating dinner, having a pleasant family meal, when DJ starts singing at the top of his lungs: what if momma eats jesus tonight....

I didn't stop him.

what if momma eats jesus tonight

Yes, I know. I'm going to hell.

coming down the mountain

coming down the mountain

When I was younger my father always used to say to me that I make mountains out of molehills. And he was right. But sometimes those mountains are just that...mountains. And sometimes you are climbing up that mountain and you think when you get to the top you will be alone and lost and scared. And then the person you left standing at the bottom is suddenly there beside you, taking your hand and guiding you back down. And everything after that is molehills.

January 13, 2002

into the void

into the void

1/14/01

Yea, that (down there) was overly dramatic. Sorry. Just give a few days, maybe a week, to clear my head and sort things out. There's big decisions to be made, life changing decisions. And I wish I could just do some silly poll or question of the day and have you all figure it out for me or make a choice for me, but it's not that kind of thing. If only life were decided by web polls. If only I was a decisive kind of person.

I'm going to be gone for a while. There are things going on here that I'd rather not write about, not yet anyhow. And at this point, I'd rather not write at all. There are some things that just cannot be put into words. Pieces of me are scattered everywhere, and when I get them back together, I will write again. It may be days. It may be weeks. It may be tomorrow. It may be never.

One down...

One down...

Let me just reiterate: Green Bay has never lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field. Thank you

here's to good friends - and cheesheads

here's to good friends - and cheesheads

GB (2k image)Today, 12:30 EST. Packers v. 49ers. Please keep in mind that the Packers have never lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field.

I am so ready for this game. I have my jersey and my hat and cheeshead all laid out, waiting for game time. I bet Pat will be actually wearing his.

Today, in honor of the Packers and some wonderful memories, and because that part of my archives does not have permalinks, I am repeating an entry.

September 9, 2001: Why I am a Packers fan:

The question of the week in my mailbox is this: Why am I a Packers fan when I live

in New York? People seem to be very interested in the more mundane aspects of my

life, and that suits me just fine. So, for the inquisitive; the poignant, touching history

of why I love the Green Bay Packers:

I have always been a football fan. My father was a Jets fan since the beginning, and

we grew up watching them. Joe Namath was an early hero of mine, and when my father

met him and got his autograph, we lived in this heady state of euphoria for days. We

loved football. We loved the Jets.

Eventually the Jets ripped my heart out and moved to New Jersey. I was pissed. I was

hurt. I felt as if a long time lover had abandoned me for a sexier, prettier girl. I, in turn,

abandoned the Jets. No longer was I one of their biggest fans. I couldn't look them in they

eye. I couldn't stand the pain.

I lost interest in football for the most part, and didn't come back to it until I joined a

football pool at the local deli a few years later. I came back to the game full force,

back to spending my Sundays in front of the tv, cursing and muttering and cheering.

I had no team, though. I was like a man without a country. I had no banner to wave,

no colors to wear, no allegiance to pledge. This went on for a few years, with me just

rooting for the point spread and some extra cash.

Enter Xavier. I met Xavier several years ago, when I was in the waning stages of my

marraige and about to end it. Xavier became a great friend, my one man group therapy

and confidant. He was spiritual without being religious, generous to a fault and dying

of cancer. He was in the last stages of a hard fought battle, and he gave up on

hospitals and chemo and doctors in general. He just wanted to fade away peacefully.

We spent a lot of time together that fall, examining life and talking football. Xavier

was a Packers fan through and through. He was from Green Bay. His blood was green

and gold. His mood was determined by the accuracy of Bret Favre's arm on any given

Sunday.

Towards the end of November that year, Xavier told me he wouldn't make it to Christmas.

He was ready to let go of whatever rope he was clinging to. He had enough. He wrote

me a letter shortly after Thanksgiving, after he lost the use of his voice, and asked me

to honor a few favors he had of me. He asked me to take care of myself, to be good to

myself. He asked me not to settle for just anyone just because I didn't want to be alone.

He asked me to always remember him. And he asked me to pledge to him that I would

always and forever remain a Packers fan, so I could root for them in his place. I readily

agreed to all. I told him I would try to keep most of the promises, and the last one was

certainly the easiest.

Xavier died the first week in December. The Packers made it to the Super Bowl and lost

to Denver. Of course, I have never forgotten him. I have been mostly good to myself and

no, I didn't settle. And I am still, and always will be, a Packers fan.

So here's to the Packers, Xavier and keeping promises to friends.

January 12, 2002

am i going to be owed bad karma for this day?

am i going to be owed bad karma for this day?

Shel isn't the only one who can indulge in major retail therapy.

We took the 45 minute drive out to Book Revue to pick up DJ's Ethan Allen book. While we were there, we also bought new copies of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as well as The Hobbit. At some point I came across The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and remembered what that book meant to me in high school (whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist) so I picked that up also. We also bought the paperback version of Kavalier and Clay. We felt so good when we left the store that we decided to press our luck and go to the mall. This is never a good idea given that I hate both malls and people in general.

So we get to the mall, spend an hour finding a parking spot and then bulldoze our way through throngs of thirteen year old girls, all named Britney, all wearing midriff t-shirts with inappropriate sayings (i want your boyfriend) and carrying copies of Princess Diaries. We were there 2 hours and didn't kill anyone. Amazing.

Our final tally:

Evil Dead DVD, which we already had, but this one came in an Evil Dead tin lunch box

Army of Darkness Bootleg Edition DVD, which we wanted for so long but were unable to purchase

One hooded sweatshirt for me, allowing me to openly declare my love for 8 bit video games

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Ghost World and The Captain Underpants Extra Crunchy Book O Fun. I swear, that last one isn't for me. Really.

This is all on top of the package I received in the mail today from Jessica, containing five home-made cds, with beautiful covers and labels, that I will start listening to tonight, as soon as Army of Darkness is over. I can't decide whether to start with the one that has The Birthday Party on it or go straight to the one with Fear and Bad Brains and Killing Joke. Don't know if I am ready for a youthful indescretion flashback just yet.

As if the day wasn't good enough, we heard Faith No More on the radio not once, but twice, and neither time was the song Epic. You cannot beat that.

And that, my friends, is an outstanding day.

Oh yes. It occurred to me that I have never once posted a picture of myself on this page. So here and now, your one and only chance to view a cheesy, grainy, poorly lit cam picture of me.

Ethan Allen, of the war, not furniture

Ethan Allen, of the war, not furniture

Just in case you are wondering...

My day will not be spent lounging around in my pajamas reading comic books and eating unhealthy snacks. Instead, I will be traipsing all over Long Island trying to find a biography of Ethan Allen (The Revolutionary war guy, not the furniture guy).

DJ has a book report this month. There was no theme for a change. He could pick any book in the entire free world. Captain Underpants, even. A comic book. The instruction manual for Star Wars Legos. Whatever. I mean, there must be 500 books in our house. A good portion of them on his reading level. But no, he decides (and when DJ decides something, there is no discussion about altering his decision) that he wants to read a biography of a radical, defiant, religion-hating man:

Shocking people was Allenís specialty. He stopped his wedding ceremony when asked if he would pledge "to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God." He wanted to know which god and whose god the marriage was supposed to please, stalling the proceedings until it was specified to be Nature's god and no other.

Also: (Allen and the Green Mountain boys) took Fort Ticonderoga after an epic march in fierce conditions that caught the British asleep. Allen awoke them by proclaiming that he was taking possession "In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." The Jehovah bit was all tongue in cheek, for Allen was a freethinker who thought Judeo-Christian-Islam-anity was a calamity. I'm beginning to feel a bit of a kinship with Mr. Allen.

I really have no idea where the idea of Ethan Allen came from in DJ's strange little head. Natalie did a report on Allen once, but that was almost two years ago.

Anyhow, the point is, not one of the big conglomerate book stores on Long Island carries any appropriate Ethan Allen reading material. The woman I spoke to at Borders yesterday kept saying "furniture?" and I kept repeating "revolutionary war" and she kept hitting the keys on her computer and bringing up furniture and insisting with all her tiny little brain cells that I was absolutely making this up and no such man existed. Tell that to the citizens of Vermont.

I've called three other stores, to no avail. Many of the books are out of print. So finally, I remember about the Book Revue in Huntington, probably the best damn independent bookstore on the face of this earth, a place where Neil Gaiman sat his butt down last June to sign copies of American Gods. It's a bookstore run by people who love and revere books, not people who sell coffee and scones with more fervor than they sell reading material. The staff is knowledgeable. They would think of Ethan Allen the war hero before they thought of Ethan Allen the couch man.

So now I have to trek all the way to Huntington to get this book for DJ, and the worst part is, I know I will be parting with more than the ten bucks the Ethan Allen biography will cost. I will be spending a good portion of whatever is in my wallet there. That's not a bad thing, though. Because then I can come home, put on my jammies and surround myself with new books and magazines and unhealthy snacks.

Pointless post, I know. But I'm killing time waiting for the bookstore to open.

life, death and and comic books

life, death and and comic books

Did you ever think about how you are going to die? We all think about death sometimes. It's an inevitable part of life. We will all die someday. I'm not afraid of that. It's the how that scares me. A prolonged illness? A fiery crash? A bizarre accident that will make the headlines at Ananova?

I only think about these things once in a while, usually while I am lying in bed at night, wide awake and watching the clock slowly turn from one number to the next. Something about the darkness and the seemingly endless stretch of darkness in between my days that causes me to face my mortality. Sometimes I give up thinking about the how and dwell on the when. Most people who think about these things on a regular basis are those who live their life to the fullest. They want to live every day as if it is their last, and they don't waste a minute of their time being unproductive.

Me? I may get morose and scared in the middle of the night and think about what I haven't done and the days I have wasted, but once I wake up and I realize it is Saturday, I have no qualms about spending the day in my pajamas, reading and playing video games and doing nothing productive at all. The morning light tends to strip me of any thoughts I had during the night of making meaning out of my day. Once the caffeine settles in and the computer is turned on, I go back to being that person who wants to spend her days in a comfortable lull.

Somehow, an obituary reading "she died in her pajamas at 4 in the afternoon on a Saturday, sprawled out on the couch surrounded by comic books and empty coffee cups" does not sound too bad to me.

I try not to think about death too much, because it gives me a bad case of sorrow to think of leaving my kids behind in grief. But I have finally come to that point in my life where, if I were to die today, I think I would have fulfilled my quota of doing good things and living a a good life. No regrets, no what ifs, because I learned to banish those what ifs a long time ago. Useless little creatures, they are. I have totally lived my life to the fullest the past few years. I like my life, I like what I have done with it, I like what I have made of it so far.

Sometimes thinking about death leads you to thinking about life. And instead of rushing out to do all those things that I haven't done (and really, I think visiting Egypt and becoming a rock star are out of the question at this point), I am just going to revel in the life I have made for myself to this point.

January 11, 2002

The Forest Forty

The Forest Forty

Beavers, deer, and woodchucks under federal investigation. I just read the headline. I didn't bother with the story because I made up my own.

Roscoe, New York. 1/11/02

The Forest Forty is a well-known militant organization made up of woodland creatures whose main goal is to bring down the NRA and the meat packing industry. It has been said that their funding comes from PETA, but this has yet to be proved, despite the FBI finding Alicia Silverstone posters in several beaver dams. Detractors from this theory claim that the animals are really running an methamphetamine lab in their underground quarters, and point to the large increase in sales of glow in the dark necklaces and Aphex Twin albums to coyotes as proof.

An intensive investigation into the Forest Forty began 5 years ago, when Charlton Heston received a package at his NRA office that contained woodchuck and deer feces. The package was left on his doorstep, on fire. When Mr. Heston stomped on the bag to quell the flames, he remembers hearing "animal-like giggling" coming from the bushes.

A beaver who had been sitting in the county animal shelter, detained on charges of biting a human, told authorities he would give them information on who sent the excrement filled package to Heston in exchange for his freedom, thus giving a whole new meaning to the phrase stool pigeon. Between the beaver and another informant known only as Rabies187, they were able to gather enough information to move in on the gang's upstate New York hideout.

When the FBI arrived at the scene, they witnessed the last of the Forty scampering into the tunnel. In an effort to drive the animals out, the agents blasted Ted Nugent records into the hole, but it was obvious the animals had found another way out.

We will have more as the investigation continues.

Just call me b5dksufioxelc

Just call me b5dksufioxelc

B5 d t+ k s+ u- f++ i o+ x- e- l c+

No idea what it means except that I haven't slept with any other bloggers and my blog is in the closet. But it looks kinda cool. no?

analyze this. I dare you.

analyze this. I dare you.

Good morning, Republicans. Welcome to your Whitewater.

I was dreaming about bloggers last night. Sad, I know. We were all climbing this huge pyramid. It had grips in the side, and we would hang onto the grips and pull ourselves up, little by little. There must have been about a hundred bloggers there, all trying to get to the top. At one point I came very close to reaching the summit of the pyramid, and I kept crying that my coffee was up there, I had to get to it. But as I got very close to the top, I voluntarily let go of the grips I was holding and slid my way down the pyramid. Along the way, I scraped my arm on some of the grips and kicked someone in the head. When I landed at the bottom, there was a circle of mud all around the pyramid. I landed heavily in the mud yet, when I got up to check for broken bones, I was perfectly clean. I stood back and watched the rest of the bloggers struggling to climb up the pyramid. Sometimes one would let go like I did and slide down, walk through the mud and come stand with me to watch the rest. We did this for what seemed like a very long time, until it got very dark out. Huge, heavy clouds rolled in and hung over us. There was lightning and thunder and the person who was standing next to me asked if I wanted an umbrella. I told him I would rather enjoy the rain. I turned towards the pyramid again and when the lightning next struck and lit up the pyramid, I could see some kind of bugs swarming all over it. They were writhing and slithering and buzzing and crawling all over whoever was left on the pyramid. The bugs formed a blanket over the pyramid, and I could see the bumps where there was a person caught underneath their swarm. Finally, it started raining, a cold, white rain, and the bugs washed away into the mud. The people who had been underneat the bugs were frozen in time. They were all caught in freeze frames of climbing motions, and some had come to rest with their hands over their eyes or ears. One was hanging by one hand from a grip, a look of terror on his face. As the icy rain hit them, they turned into ice sculptures. Several people that were standing near me watching this decided that they would go and climb the pyramid again, this time using their frozen friends as stepping stones to get to the top. I tried to stop them, raving and screaming about the moral implications of such a thing.

And once again, I was awoken by the sound of cats having sex outside my window.

January 09, 2002

I thought I was done

I thought I was done...

And you know, one more thing. It's bugging the shit out of me that Bush is calling the new Education plan the "No Child Left Behind Act." Because if he is going to have the progress of students based on standardized test scores, then my daughter, along with a lot of other kids, will surely be left behind. And the way to lift up sagging schools is not to give parents the option of moving their kids to a different school. What you're left with then is a bunch of kids who are probably failing and have a crappy home life to boot. What happens to them as they are left in a failing school, with other failing kids with no other option? And isn't there something wrong in our country when the rich neighborhoods have great schools and for the most part poor neighborhoods have poor schools? Shouldn't a good education be provided to everyone? Why the disparity? Shouldn't we be looking at ways to get more funding into the poorer districts rather than throwing more tests at everyone? And you know what the bottom line in all this is? If parents don't get involved in their child's education than they (1) have no right to complain about it and (2) will ensure that their kids fail.

Now, I'm done.

and then the rest of the day....

and then the rest of the day....

You'll be happy to know I'm done being introspective. For now.

Next time anyone hears me say that I am volunteering for a project at one of my kids' schools, kick me, ok? Kick me hard.

I told you a few months ago that this Parents as Reading Partners thing would suck the life force out of me. And it has. I'm really enjoying putting it together. It would just be nice if I was doing with say, a committe. Of more than one person. That person being me. So I'm putting together a four week program that involves the whole community and every single kid in the school. There's a breakfast for community leaders and people being invited into the school to read and there's supposed to be something special going on like every other day. I'm trying, I really am. The PTA president gave me a really nice pep talk the other night and I was feeling really good about my progress and then I spoke to someone today who relayed the message to me that the school administration thinks that there should be an author signing to go along with the program. Yea, ok. A month before the program I'm going to find a children's author who is going to drop whatever they are doing to come to the school to read to 500 kids for half an hour? Don't think so. Unless.....any of you guys know any famous authors? Are you a famous author? Can you impersonate one? I'd pay you...

Anyhow, given my total lack of sleep the past few days and the fact that I am being buried under a pile of "do this yesterday" at work, I have a date with a bottle of wine tonight. If sleep won't come to me, then I'll opt for the alcohol coma.

on the couch

on the couch

It's Wednesday already and I've almost made it halfway through this week. So why do I feel like it's still Monday. It's one of the side effects of lack of sleep - every day feels like the same day. Without those hours of unbroken sleep to separate the nights from the days, your mind starts to feel like it's just living one day that won't end.

I laid awake for a long time last night thinking about my childhood. The birthday party comments yesterday brought back a lot of unpleasant memories, especially Lee's comment. I spent my whole life telling myself and anyone else who was listening that it never mattered to me that I had no friends. So how come I'm sitting here, at almost 40 years old, still obsessing about it? It's not just that. I wonder about all the hurtful memories I harbor and why I keep them there. The story about my 13th birthday that I wrote about, I didn't even remember that until something triggered it several years ago. I asked a couple of my cousins about it just to make sure it wasn't some dreamed up memory on my part, but they all remembered it.

Why do we keep incidents like that stored in our brain? And what makes us want to talk about them? I have so many good memories. Despite the friends issue, my childhood was a good one. We had a very loving, pleasant home life. So why, when my family is all together, do we talk about the time my sister and I had a fist fight on the front lawn, or any other moment that will dredge up bad memories? Why, when I talk about school, do I only talk about that feeling of isolation, that weird, sickening feeling I always had in my stomach when I would see other girls whispering and giggling?

I wonder what my own kids will remember. Years from now, will Natalie talk about the birthday that she got a trip to Disney, or will she talk about the year it snowed so bad that we had to cancel her party? Will she only discuss the horrible experience of third grade when the whole world seemed to turn against her, or will she talk about this time, now, when her life is full of friends and activities and she is comfortable in her own skin for the first time? Will DJ someday tell people about making the All-Star team in baseball or meeting Dave Winfield, or will he just remember that he was sick for a long time, or his cousin knocked him off the trampoline when he was eight?

I can probably recount every slight against me, every insult hurled at me, every time someone knocked me down. I can tell you on what date my sister broke my Bay City Rollers record on purpose and give you the specific details of the day I got hit with a firecracker. I don't know why I dwell on the past so much when my present is so good. This is probably the best time in my life; certainly my happiest. And I know I'm not the only one. I think everyone does it to an extent. Are stories about bad moments just more interesting? Or is it because the bad things shape us so much more than the good things, so that's why they stick with us so vividly?

This is what happens when I don't sleep. My brain goes into overdrive. I also tend to get "fiesty" as my boss says. Hopefully I'll put the thinking cap to good use today and work on some of those projects instead of sitting around all day philosophizing. Nobody likes a fiesty philosopher.

January 08, 2002

28th day

28th day

I apologize in advance for all the links to CNN and Newsday, for incomprehensible rants, for saying nothing in so many words, and for the giant chocolate cake I am about to devour.

News. Sometimes it's enlightening, but mostly it's depressing, frustrating and infuriating.

I won't even bother pointing to the story about our president once again saying something wholly inappoproriate. You all know I think he is a blithering buffoon, so there's no point in additional snarkiness on my part.

Oh, wait. So I won't link to the story about ethnic insults eminating from his mouth, but I will talk about the Education bill. While U.S. Education received a "C" grade in a recent survey, Bush passes a bill that will require even more testing for our nation's students. Testing is just the wrong way to go. As it is, in New York, teachers spend most of 4th grade preparing students for standardized tests. They teach to the tests, and nothing else. How does this help? What about the education they are missing out on because a whole year turns into test preparation? Testing is subjective at best. Some kids who are otherwise A students do terribly on tests. What about the other parts of education besides the four main subjects? Bush wants to get all kids reading by third grade. Not for nothing, but most kids are reading way before that. If he really wanted to take some initiative, he would find a way to make it mandatory that parents are involved in their child's education (see Chris). That's where most of the problem lies. Parents who want to blame the teachers, the administration, the school system - everyone but themselves. Of course, it doesn't help to have a president who stands in front of you hammering home the importance of reading and then says about the bill he just passed, "I don't intend to read it all. It's not exactly light reading."

And speaking of kids and their parents, while having lunch in a diner today, I had the displeasure of having Court TV thrown at me from 5 different sets at 5 different angles. What the hell kind of world do we live in when, live on television, we have a kid sitting on the stand testifying that he saw his father beat the shit out of his friend's father? Beat him so severely that he killed him.

It's the very same world where you can spend 5 years raping and sodomizing your step-daughter and then get only a year in jail for it. Or where you can be arrested and held in jail for almost four months and still not be charged with anything, except, perhaps, being Muslim. Or where someone's "shining star" is in reality a suicidal terrorist sympathizer. Or was he? The FBI paints him as a troubled loner. His classmates beg to differ. It's gotten to the point where I don't believe anything that comes out of the mouth of anyone affiliated with a government agency. Yea, the kid was troubled. Duh, he committed suicide. But don't try to add a little drama to the story by turning the kid into a trenchcoat-wearing terrorist.

I'll tell you what kind of world it is, folks. It's the kind of world where Creed can dominate the Billboard charts. What have we become??

Can you tell where I'm at in my cycle right now? It's pretty obvious, no? Mark this day. Check back same time next month if you like this sort of thing.

Anyone want to share a chocolate fudge cake with me?

question of the day, the return

question of the day

QOTD makes a brief re-appearance today. Humor me.

With DJ's birthday the end of this month, and Natalie's in February, I've been thinking a lot about childhood birthday parties. Some terrifying memories of clowns and mean cousins, but some very good memories, too.

So, what's your best/worst childhood birthday party memory? Note it says childhood. I do not want to hear about that drunken rampage at your last party when you woke up in the bed of your former grade school teacher.

more fun with the sleep deprived

more fun with the sleep deprived

It's 5am and the house is dark except for my little nook and cranny over here, by the computer. I'm the only one up - I've been up most of the night - and my lack of sleep over the past few days has made me a bit jumpy. Justin was laughing in his sleep when I left the bedroom at about 3am, a laugh that was more evil than humorous. Now I hear noises. Ice falling off the trees outside, landing on the ground with a thud that makes me jump out of my seat. I thought I saw a shadow float across the kitchen, but shadows don't float, do they? So then what was that? And there's my Jack Skellington bobbin' head, sitting on top of my computer, and his head is bobbin' just a little too much today. I think he is grinning at me. It's only Tuesday. My next chance for a nap doesn't come until Saturday. I can't for the life of me understand why I can fall asleep so easily during the day, yet lay awake at night, staring at the ceiling and begging for mercy from the sleep gods. And when I do sleep, there's the bizarre, tiring dreams, so what's the point? Sometimes when I get into bed at night, I get a feeling of dread, knowing that the dreams are going to come. So what's worse? Sleeping but having that sleep filled with all too realistic nightmares, or not sleeping at all and living with the resulting zombie-like state and hallucinations that come with insomnia?

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately, anyhow. It's a big, angry cycle that leads me to this state. I don't sleep, therefore I am tired. I am tired, therefore I have no motivation to finish projects that have deadlines. I have deadlines looming over my head, therefore I can't sleep. See where this is going?

Mentally, I feel fine. A bit edgy, a bit jumpy, but none of that usual lethargy or lack of motivation that comes with my bouts of insomnia. Maybe I've learned to live with it. Maybe I've learned how to harness my energy so I don't need sleep. Maybe I will pass out at my desk at about 10 am.

Maybe I should stop rambling and get ready for work.

January 07, 2002

family physics

family physics

for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

The laws of physics apply to more than just physics. Witness:

3:45 p.m.

I'm at work. Natalie calls, tells me about her day. We talk a bit. Her friend is asking her a question about a video game, she relates question to me and I give her the correct answer.

Mom, you are so cool.

My eleven year old daughter called me cool. Is there a higher form of praise than that? It's what every mother dreams of, next to hearing that first utterance of ma-ma and the later cooing of I love you at early ages. My daughter thinks I'm cool. I glow.

5:15 p.m.

I'm home. DJ is trying to manipulate his way out of the punishment served on him this morning for being just a bit too surly and forgetting where he put his recorder. Again. No video games, no computer. Homework and bed. I'm just trying to instill a sense of responsibility, and the whole "consequences for your actions" thing.

One video game. Just five minutes with Tekken. Pleaassseee.

No.

Backyard Football?

No.

I swear I won't talk back to you anymore. I'm so so so so sorry. Pleeaaaaaase?

No.

God,you are SO mean. You are the meanest mother in the world. I hate this house!

I may have pouted. I may have scowled. I don't know, I was too busy being knocked down from my mom pedestal to notice.

I love you: action

Meanest mother in the world: opposite reaction

See? There's your physics lesson for the day.

is it time to go home yet?

is it time to go home yet?

I'm sitting in my boss's office. He's gone for the day and I am taking photos out his window of the wind blown snow. It's not a good snow; it's not even sticking to the ground. But it's white and pretty while it's in the air so instead of working, I'm staring through my camera lens, seeing the snowflakes as fancy little pieces of art.

It's a funny thing about having photography as a hobby. You tend to see the world and everything in it a bit differently. Everything is a potential picture. Nothing is just an object. You notice colors and shades of colors and light and symetry and tiny little objects that may have gone unseen to your eye before you had a camera. The way the water glass sits precariously on the edge of the desk, the light glinting off the corner of the picture frame, an abandoned umbrella laying in the street. My eyes have changed. My line of vision has changed. I can look at the same tree one hundred times and see a different photograph each time. The pictures may not always come out like I see them in my camera-focused eye, but at least the experience of taking the picture makes me see things in the world around me in a whole new light.

Today's sleep deprivation moment: Typing a decision that read Order to Show Cows instead of Order to Show Cause. If that's funny to no one else but me, so be it. I'm still cracking up at the idea of it.

dreams, dread and donuts

blogsticker01 (2k image)*

dreams, dread and donuts

I slept on and off all night, accumulating about two hours worth of sleep in all. Sleep, wake. Sleep, wake. During the sleeping moments, there were dreams that made me toss and turn and, at least once, yell out loud. In one of the dreams I was in a place so deep, so far removed from our usual world, that I thought for a moment I would never get out. There were twisted roots of trees winding around a deep hole like a wooden tornado, and I could see myself looking up, arms stretched out, a look of fear on my face. The further I sunk into that hole, the deeper I went into my dreamworld, until I felt as if I was suffocating, maybe drowning, and I tried to wake myself. There is a great struggle that goes on when you try to wake yourself, when you are cognizant that you are in a dream state, but know you need to get out of it. It's almost like beating yourself up. There was a moment of panic when I though that I had finally gone too deep into my dream world and I would never get out. Then, finally, the roots of the trees loosened their grip on the walls of the hole and swung down to form ropes. I climbed them, swinging from one to another, blistering my hands and straining my muscles, all the while feeling like the surface was not getting any nearer. I was losing my breath, losing my grip and for a brief second I wanted to just let go and fall into the hole, let whatever world down there that was trying to swallow me do so. At that time, in my waking life, Justin was shaking me, trying to get me up because I was gasping for air, as I do sometimes. I finally was able to open my eyes and get myself out of the dream, and I sat up and swallowed several gulps of air, sure that if I didn't get enough air in I was going to die on the spot. Just another night around here.

So now I have a huge headache and I'm working on very little sleep. There was not one drop of snow during the night, let alone the three inches they kept talking about. Despite the fact that I knew in my heart it was not going to snow, I still went to bed last night with visions of a snow day dancing in my head.

It's Monday morning, I am tired and cranky and facing a desk pile high with a million things that all need immediate attention. I have looming deadlines on several projects and all I want to do is crawl back into bed for just another...seven days or so will do. Time to face the world, I guess. It's going to be a Krispy Kreme and strong coffee kind of a day.

*blogsticker made by Pixelfish. You know, I've never had poutine but I hear it's to die for.

January 06, 2002

look ma, no brains!

look ma, no brains!

It looks like there may have been more to that kid crashing the plane than I suspected. I am capable of eating my words.

Apparently - no, allegedly - he left a suicide note stating that he was a bin Laden supporter. I have two thoughts on this. One, he was a troubled, lonely kid. He wanted to commit suicide, knew he was going to do it, but decided to throw in a reference to bin Laden just to fuck with people. Or two, he really didn't say that at all. Maybe there was no note. Did anyone see Rumsfeld or Ashcroft snooping around near the site of the crash? I could have sworn when I was watching MSNBC last night, I saw the shadowy figure of a man with Rumsfeld's build putting something next to the plane.

Just a thought.

it's raining, it's pouring, the weather man is a big fat assed liar

Oh Mr. Weather Channel man? It's pouring right now. Torrential, driving rain sweeping across the landscape. Hello? Didn't you promise me snow? I could have sworn that this morning you said something about three inches of white stuff? Does this look white to you? No,it just looks wet. Stop playing around with my weather emotions, ok? Just give me my one god damned snow storm that I put in for and I will stop calling the station complaining about the innacuracy of your Doppler radar. Thank you.

Anyhow, today is Sunday, January 6, 2002. Do you know what this means? In one half hour the premier of the 5th season of Oz begins. If you have HBO and have never seen this show, watch it. Have I ever steered you wrong? I mean, besides that stock market tip that left you penniless and naked.

Don't forget to vote for the Bloggies. In case you're stuck on the best meme category, may I suggest Shel's Penny Drive for Charity, World Aids Day and the 2001 Blogathon (I think that counts as a meme. If not you can vote for it for best temporary or periodic weblog).

it's one of those days when i just won't shut up

it's one of those days when i just won't shut up

Blogstickers. Go get yours.

JP3 (1k image)


what did you read in 2001?

what did you read in 2001?

The USA Today list of top 100 Books of 2001: Fluff Central.

While I am a fan of the Harry Potter books, there's something about seeing all of them listed in the top of the crop, along with the appendage books, like Quidditch Through the Ages that makes my skin crawl. Kinda like the Linkin Park thing. And where is American Gods? Instead we get John Grisham crap and moving cheese. Just so you don't think I am a book snob, I was quite pleased to see Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman listed.

What did you read in 2001 that you loved/loathed/hid under your mattress?

the morning news (brought to you by Folgers)

the morning news (brought to you by Folgers)

I turn on the news last night (I think it was MSNBC), and they are showing the plane, piloted by a 15-year old, that crashed into a skyscraper in Florida. The camera stays on the plane for about 15 minutes while two people talk over it. Occasionally, you can see someone inside the building, probably scratching his head and wondering how the hell to get the plane out of there. Now, it's what these two guys were saying that was so interesting. I was only sort of half-listening, but that was all I needed to know that the media have gone collectively insane.

This is like Columbine. Kids bringing guns to school, now they are flying planes into buildings. How can we feel safe? Imminent terrorist attacks. WTC all over again. Florida flight training schools. Columbine.

A 15 year old kid who was probably hell bent on getting some attention took a plane he wasn't supposed to. I didn't read anything more into this story than just that. Not every event that happens needs to be looked at on a grander scale. Sometimes things are just what they seem. A reckless 15 year old who made a really big mistake. It's not a school shooting, or even comparable to one. It's not an act of terrorism. It's not an attack on our sense of safety. Why do these talking heads insist on making it out be more? Is frightening the audience the new standard for television news?

So, in other news:

James Lileks, hysterical as always, takes a look back at 2002

Read last night's comments for a discourse in film making, and film watching, from Pixelfish and Kris

The number one selling album in 2001 leaves me crying for the state of music and wondering what the hell 14 year old middle class white boys are so angry about, anyhow

I may finally get a shot of snow here

And last but not least, in what I hope is becoming a standard for 2002, Denis Rodman has joined the ranks of Celebrity Assholes in Handcuffs. I would really like to see more of this kind of thing.

January 05, 2002

3 hours, lost forever

3 hours, lost forever

I was forced to watch Cast Away tonight. What a piece of crap. I just lost three good hours of my life that could have been spent blogging or sleeping or playing with belly button lint.

Maybe it's Tom Hanks. I hated Forrest Gump, too. Which probably makes me the only person in America to hate that movie. Or maybe I'm just totally uncultured when it comes to films. I have never seen Titanic. Or Gone With the Wind. Or It's A Wonderful Life. Yet, I've seen Army of Darkness 100 times.

Does this say something horrible about me?

crash and burn

crash and burn

I think I finally had my post-holiday season crash.

I had all kinds of plans for today. I was going to work on my redesign. I was going to fool around with some graphic ideas and I was going to spend a good portion of the day talking to Candi on AIM. In between, I would get the dishes done, do some laundry and end the day feeling a bit accomplished.

At some point the electrician came to fix the circuit breaker that shorted out last night. I shut the computer down because he was turning off the main switch. I decided to sit on the couch with my book and wait it out. Bad move.

The electrician came and went. I was still on the couch. The problem was, I wasn't really reading. I was dozing on and off. It was all I could do to keep my eyes open. For about six hours, I hovered between sleeping and barely waking, one time opening my eyes long enough to catch the last part of Escape to New York. I had bizarre dreams that I couldn't escape from and even when I did wake up, my body felt like it was still sleeping. So now it's 7:00, we have had dinner and are debating what movie to watch. All I want to do is go back to bed.

I really have to stop blogging for the sake of blogging. When I have nothing to say, I should say just that. Nothing.

may the force drop a ten ton brick on your head

may the force drop a ten ton brick on your head

Some dorkass in Seattle has decided to wait in line for Star Wars: Episode 2 (Attack of the Lucas Ego), which doesn't open until May 16th.

If any of you are in the Seattle area, could you please go see this guy and (1) kick him in his balls and (2) ask him a few questions for me?

1. Do you not have a job? If you don't have a job, wouldn't your time be better served looking for one thanwaiting in line for a movie that is going to suck more ass than Freddie Got Fingered?

2. If you are doing this as an "art project" as you claim, why don't you pick a movie with more artistic merits?It seems sort of hypocritical for you to claim that you are doing this for art when you are waiting to see an over-hyped, multi million dollar extravaganza that features a cameo by NSync.

3. Were you born without pride or shame or did that accumulate over time, perhaps from spending too much time in someone's basement presiding over the minutes of the Seattle Star Wars Society?

4. Speaking of basements, is your mom subletting hers while you are away until May?

5. You're a virgin, aren't you?

So if someone could get these questions over to him and get me some answers, I will be most grateful. And if he answers number 5 with "I'm saving myself for my very own Princess Leia," please kill him on the spot.

plug someone you love

plug someone you love

Interesting morning. When I got here my blog was gone. Not only could I not get on the page, but when I went into greymatter, everything was gone. Every entry. I brought up my FTP thingie and looked in there, but nothing was missing. As someone who is pretty illiterate when it comes to these things, it was a scary moment. I may have cried. So I fired off a quick email to my savior in these matters, Candi, and I am sure I sounded like a raving lunatic.

Anyhow, long story short, about ten minutes later everything miraculously appeared again. How very odd. I wonder if this is a portent to the whole day.

So I was thinking about the Bloggies. I think it's a nice idea to have fellow webloggers vote for the people they enjoyed reading over the year. Then I looked at last year's winners and realized that while this seems like a good idea on the surface, it's just another way to heap accolades on the "upper crust" of the weblogging community.

But it doesn't have to be. If a whole bunch of us on the other rungs of the blog ladder vote, maybe we can give lesser known blogs a chance to win. If you look at my sidebar, you will see that most of us read the same blogs. And they are very good blogs, ones that would deserve an award or two. I know, I know, awards are meaningless. But wouldn't you feel good to get one, knowing that it wasn't just some random weblog review site that picked you, but your blogging peers?

Despite my initial stance that I was going to completely ignore the Bloggies, I've changed my mind. Jill's post about this, and her analogy to the unpopular girl winning homecoming queen, made me want to go and vote. So go over there, and let's give the homecoming king/queen title to someone besides the head cheerleader and football captain. Or, as Jill put it, go plug someone you love.

January 04, 2002

this, that and the other thing

this, that and the other thing

So it's Friday night and I should be full of ideas and vim and vigor and a lust for life. Well, I got the lust part down and overwith. The vim and vigor went out the window when the dinner I was trying to cook was ruined by a shorted out circuit breaker that does not want to get un-shorted. And the ideas, well my brain is on lockdown. So what does one do when one finally has some time to blog but has no brain power to come up with anything interesting? You talk about other bloggers.

Ryan is sporting the same Goatee Style t-shirt as me tonight, and he and Chris have both redesigned. Spiffiness abounds.

Let it be now known, Ian is really Sid Vicious. (jan. 3 entry)

Delicious sites found in my referrer logs and/or comments or that I just read regularly which will get added to the sidebar when I feel less drained: random thoughts; leuschke; good deed; house o groove; life on the bay; blahblahblog; andy's chest; legnog; skattieboy; boingboing; luminescent and lost by an echo.

If there was a way to get paid for reading weblogs, I would have my large screen tv by now.

I owe people emails. I owe people time. I owe it to myself to try and get a real night's sleep. I know you understand.

warning

warning

If you have a hot pink license plate frame on your car that says "Yield to the Princess" I will do everything in my power to make your drive a frightening one.

cheatsheet

cheatsheet

Jason Shellen is a genius. Here is your proof.

My can't-do-without utility for 2002 is the cheatsheat.

here's to global warming

here's to global warming

Well, you can stop emailing me now. Please. Apparently I did not have ten best blogging moments from 2001. I had one. The Day That Wouldn't Stop Sucking was the hands down winner. While a few people came up with some other posts, the day I spit on someone seems to be living in infamy. So there you have it, my top one blogging entry of the year. Numbers 2-10 have left town.

It's January and we haven't had even one snow flurry yet. There are huge storms to the south and north, but nothing here. I just want that one huge snow storm.

I like snow when it is new. When it comes overnight, while the world is sleeping and when you wake in the morning you just know. You lay in bed and you can hear ice-coated flakes brushing the side of the house each time the wind blows. You can feel it rather than see it - there is a different sense in the air whenyou wake during a snowstorm. You look out the window and the light of the streetlamp catches the swirling snow in mid-air, light, flurried flakes mixing with heavier drops of snow that fall to the ground with a thud. The world is still and and quiet and glistens from the new layer of white that rests upon it. The snow is fresh and unmarked and it is a thing of beauty. Eventually, other people wake and the magic of the untouched snow is broken by the sounds of snowblowers and tires crunching their way down the street. Daylight comes and there is no school, no work, and what was just this morning a picture of serenity is filled with children and sleds and snowmen; a different form of art and beauty. Snow days are a wonderful things filled with hot chocolate and frozen, reddened hands and board games and homemade soup.

And then of course, reality sets in and you realize you have to drive to work through ice and slush the next day and there are wet coats and pants dripping all over the kitchen floor and the driveway has to be shoveled and there are going to be at least one hundred idiot, snow-fearing drivers on the road with you tomorrow. The piles of white, fresh snow that were once a thing of beauty, will turn into hardened blocks of brown, filthy ice, which the sanitation department will completely ignore when "cleaning" the roads. The parking lot at work won't get cleared of the mess for weeks to come, seriously limiting the number of available spots, so you have to get to work extra early every day if you don't want to park 2 blocks away and have to hike over snowbanks to cross the street. The salt the town has dumped in useless chunks on your roads will eat away at your car's paint job. In two days, you will be sick of the cold, the the snow and who ever you are living with and stuck in the house with because the roads that never got plowed are now a sheet of ice and you can't go out.

Did I say I wanted snow? I just talked myself out of it. Global warming is my new best friend.

January 03, 2002

and then she mistook her ass for her brains

and then she mistook her ass for her brains

Of all the stupid things I have done as a mother, at least I never glued my child's eyes shut by accident.

Whenever I feel inferior as a parent, there is nothing more heartening than witnessing the complete idiocy of others to make myself feel good.

Justin "Jedi" Timberlake

Justin "Jedi" Timberlake

Dear Mr. Lucas,

You have now moved up to the top of my shit list, surpassing both Fred Durst and Scott Stapp to take the number one position, also known as Grand Fuckwad.

I reallly shouldn't be disappointed with your decision to give NSync a part in Episode 2. I was the only one who recognized the beginning of the end of your genius when you introduced us to Ewoks. Cute, fuzzy, marketable creatures have led you on the path to commercialism.

I waited all those years for Episode 1, and I'm not even going to waste my breath talking about the travesty that is Jar Jar Binks or continuity problems.

I thought maybe, just maybe, you would redeem yourself with Episode 2. Maybe Jar Jar would die. Maybe there would be no loveable woodland creatures. Maybe it would be all dark and foreboding like Empire. Attack of the Clones? Have you lost your fucking mind? You have forsaken me, George. Nothing you could do at this point will make me shell out any of my hard earned money to see any further pieces of crap you put out. You could make Boba Fett the star of the show and I still won't come. I am done with you and with the Star Wars franchise as a whole.

George, you have to understand something. More than half of my net-worth can be attributed to Star Wars collectible merchandise. I can give a three hour discourse on the subtext of the first three films. I was your minion. I worshiped you and the characters your mind gave birth to. But now, now it has all been sullied.

It's not that I have this horrible, strong distaste for NSync. It's the point, George. It has all become one big, multi million dollar joke to you. Well it's not a joke to the legion of Star Wars fans who are disgusted at your latest stunt. I'm tired of you, George. I'm tired of your litigation happy ass. I'm tired of your so-called vision. I never thought I would say this, but I am tired of Star Wars.

Excpect a letter from my attorney. I am suing you for mental and physical anguish, mostly for this sick, nauseous feeling I have been experiencing since yesterday.

I am now going to sell all of my Star Wars toys on eBay before they become worthless.

January 02, 2002

station break

station break

So much going on this week. School projects, work overflow being brought home, doctors appointments, etc. Unfortunately, that leaves little or no time for blogging. I promise to get all of this stuff swept under the carpet very quickly. Some of it may even get ignored, in my best procrastinating fashion.

Meanwhile, go through the blogs over there on the sidebar. That should keep you entertained well into April or so.

Actually, I shall return tomorrow night. I'll manage to squeeze some time in because as the saying goes, a day without blogging is like a day without coffee.

reader's poll: did i even have a top ten? maybe 5? 3?

reader's poll: did i even have a top ten? maybe 5? 3?

I need a favor from all of you. So many people have compiled their own ten favorite blog entries from 2001. I had neither the time nor the inclination to go through my past entries to pick out my ten favorite. I have this thing about re-reading my own writing. I hate doing it.

So, my quest to you for today is, help me compile the reader's top ten A Fire Inside blog entries for 2001. What was your favorite blog entry of mine in the past year? If you know the specific date of the post, that's great. Otherwise you can probably get away with "remember that time you wrote about blah blah blah," and I will probably be able to find it.

You can enter your choice in the comments here or by emailing me. I would much rather get your take on my top ten than my own. I'll post the results later on in the week.

Thank you, and thank you so much for spending some of the past year here. I'm looking forward to spending 2002 with you.

January 01, 2002

inside edition, take three

inside edition, take three

I just got rid of company, including at least a dozen kids running amok through our belongings. I think we started out with 4 kids and they just multiplied somewhere along the line. I am completely and thoroughly exhausted, down to every single fiber of my being. I have to go back to work tomorrow, the kids go back to school and I want just one more day. Just one day to recuparate from all the days before this. Starting with the frenzy of finishing my Christmas shopping down to just 5 minutes ago when we put the finishing touches on the life-sized Cleopatra that is due tomorrow. I did have enough time at some point today to finish my Blogger Insider questions, courtesy of the fabulous and interesting Skattieboy.

1) What's you favorite tabloid? And favorite tabloid headline, too, please.

Generally, I don't read tabloids. But I do admit that when standing on line at the grocery store, I get a slight thrill out of reading the headlines. Weekly World News is the most entertaining. My favorite headline: Missing Baby Found Alive Inside Watermelon!

the rest of the questions are this way ---->

2) If you could remake Times Square in your own image (not Disney's), what would it look like?

There would be two sections. One full of porn shops, adult bookstores, and sleazy movie theaters. There would be a special spot set aside for hookers. On this side would also be all the 3-card monte games and vendors selling fake watches. The other side would be one big, giant video arcade. There would be no MTV or theme restaurants.

3) Please relate to your humble readers the most influential experience you had in the American

eucational system.

It wasn't my own education that was influential, but my daughter's. Learning how to work your way through the maze of special education and in the process becoming a parent-advocate has surely influenced not only the way I view public school education as a whole, but has helped me become my children's best teacher. I learned the following lessons.

a. never leave it up to the school sytem alone to educate your child

b. if you don't speak up for your child, absolutely no one will, not even the teachers

c. arm yourself with a complete working knowledge of your school district and it's policies

d. never, ever put pressure on your child to perform better than they are honestly capable of.

e. expect your child's teacher to do the same.

4) Pretend you're George Steinbrenner for a day. How would alter the destiny of the New York Yankees, if money was no barrier to you.

The funny thing about sports is that no matter how much money you have, it will do you no good if there are no decent players available to you. If the free-agent market sucks, your money is useless. I doubt the Diamondbacks management would even entertain my offer of 10 million dollars straight up for Curt Schilling. Besides, the first thing I would do as Steinbrenner would be to get rid of that psychotic, selfish time bomb Roger Clemens. Then I would set up a rule where Joe Torre is fined $5,000 for every time he leaves a pitcher in too long.

5) In your opinion, what's the most overrated Coen Brothers movie? Conversely, what's the most

underrated?

The most overrated is Fargo. I can't sit through that whole movie, it just grates on my nerves after a while. The most underrated is Raising Arizona. I think a lot of people viewed it as just another "caper comedy" but I think it is pure comic genius. (note, I was about to say "Blood Simple" but it wasn't underrated at all, just underviewed).

6) What's the ideal number of cosmetic products a man should possess, and what would they be?

I believe a man should take care of himself. In the morning if his face is a little puffy, he should put on an icepack while doing his stomach crunches; he should be able to do a thousand. After he removes the ice pack, he should use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, he should use a water-activated gel cleanser. Then a honey-almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then he should apply an herb mint facial masque, which he should leave on for ten minutes while he prepares the rest of his routine. He should always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer. Then an anti-aging eye balm, followed by a final moisturizing protecting lotion.

7) If you were in charge of Saturday morning programming, what would the lineup look like (you can bring back any television series, by the way)?

I call this One LONG Saturday Morning

Invader Zim

Sponge Bob Square Pants

Ren and Stimpy

Beavis and Butthead

Brothers Grunt

Transformers

Justice League

H.R. Pufnstuf

Pee Wee's Playhouse

Ninja Turtles

Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Cowboy Be-Bop

Groovie Ghoulies

He-Man

Ultraman

Zoom (the 70's version)

Darkwing Duck

Droids

Fraggle Rock

The Muppet Show

Davey & Goliath

You Can't Do That on Television

Voltron, Defender of the Universe

Angry Beavers

Animaniacs

Pinky and the Brain

Eek! The Cat

Might Morphin Power Rangers (1st Season only)

Powerpuff Girls

ReBoot

Magilla Gorilla Show

Wacky Races

Wonderama

8) Favorite "Simpsons" line (bonus points awarded for obscurity).

"Homer Simpson, smiling politely"

9) Where does the title of your blog come from?

I'm confused, as are others, as to what the title actually is. So let's just say there are two. A Fire Inside came about because I was listening to AFI's The Art of Drowning almost obessively at the time. And I thought the phrase A Fire Inside was perfect, because basically that's what the blog is. Externalizing my fire inside. A Small Victory is my favorite Faith No More song and probably my favorite song ever. The lyrics are very meaningful to me, regarding a certain point in my life, and I view ever day I get through as a small victory.

10) What's your cold medication of choice and why?

NyQuil: Capital N, small y, big fucking Q! NyQuil NyQuil NyQuil, we love you, you giant fucking Q!"

11) Name the winner in this contest: Muhammad Ali's current coherence, John Ashcroft's conscience, Julia Roberts' acting ability, or Michael Jackson's self-respect?

Trick question. None of those things actually exist.

12) What's the most disturbing thing you've ever seen?

Standing outside the building I work in on September 11, 2001 and watching as the skies above New York City fill with smoke.

13) Pretend that you're the kind of person who likes to get up early to run. What would be the ideal

location for you to do so and why?

I would run through my own neighborhood. I love the way it looks and sounds early in the morning. I would like to enjoy the tranquility and peacefulness before it is broken by the sounds of daily life.

14) What are your rules for tipping waitstaff?

For the most part, I am a 20% or above tipper. As a former waitress and restuarant manager, I know when to blame the waitress and when to blame the kitchen staff for any problems with my meal. If my service is rude or inattentive, I start subtracting from the tip. However, I have never ever completely stiffed a waitress/waiter as much as I would have liked to. I just don't have the heart, no matter how bad the service was. Besides, I find a cheap tip leaves a better message than no tip at all.