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March 31, 2002

things i just don't get

things i just don't get:

women who wear high heels with sweat pants
the man in Nathan's who dyed his combover platinum blonde
the appeal of country music
Larry King
Carrot Top
people who try to get on an elevator before everyone has gotten off
basic chemistry
pooping animal keychains
Dick Vitale
Adam Sandler movies
Dr. Phil
people with bad hygiene
why some days I can think of a million things to write and some days I have nothing but filler.

stuff 3.31

stuff 3.31

Happy Easter to those who celebrate.

The Gospel According to Jim. While I am no longer of the Catholic faith, I still am very much fascinated by the story of Jesus.

And even though I don't celebrate Easter in its religious sense, I still like Easter goodies. Anathea sent me a package containing homemade Chocolate Jesii! 4 different flavors of chocolate deity in a cute little basket. Thank you, they are wonderful!

Normally, this time of year fills me with hope and a sense of renewal. But lately, I am just feeling a sense of dread. What I don't understand is our own country's reaction to Israel's reaction. When terrorists come into our country and kill our people, our leaders go after the person responsible and want him captured dead or alive. When Israel does the same, they are expected to back down? Isn't Israel going after Arafat equal to us going after bin Laden? And if I am wrong, please enlighten me. And I'm not saying they should kill Arafat, because that would just be a disaster in the making, no? There really is no good ending here. There is no solution. Just this overwhelming sense of dread hanging in the air.

I happened to catch part of John Edward's Crossing Over the other day (for entertainment value only) and who was on but Topanga from Boy Meets World. She looks umm...bloated. I think her lips need their own zip code.

And the famous are just dropping like flies.

March 30, 2002

our dinner with the manly-men

our dinner with the manly-men

Justin and I went out to dinner last night, to our favorite restaurant. Normally we go there on Saturday afternoons and sit in leisure and talk over our steak chili. But this being one of those incredibly rare Saturdays when I have my children, we went out last night instead.

We sat in smoking, because Justin still smokes and because it's less wait for a table on a Friday night. Oh yes, Friday night. The smoking section is in the bar. It is elevated up from the bar floor, but it's still right there, in the room full of happy hour drinkers - mostly middle aged men with beer bellies and older women with too much make up.

We think twice about coming to a bar/restaurant on a Friday night of a holiday weekend and sitting in the bar, but we are starving, so we stay. I order the steak salad, he orders the chili. The waitress moves in slow motion. The bar fills with cigar smoke. Our conversation is dead because my hoarse, almost gone voice cannot make itself heard over the cackling of the two hair-sprayed women sitting three feet from us in the bar.

After what seems like forever, our food arrives. Drinks? What happened to the drinks? The waitress looks dumbfounded. Maybe just dumb. She makes her way through the ever-growing crowd of paunchy men to get us our drinks. I guess she forgot to take the map with her, because she obviously got lost. How else could you explain taking over ten minutes to get an iced tea? Oh, there she is. She's at the bar. Smiling at the paunchy men. I try to use the force to get her to move from the bar to our table, but no. She is mesmerized by something on the television now. Rocket Power. My waitress is making me die of thirst so she can watch Nickelodeon.

Finally, she tears herself away from her cartoons long enough to remember our drinks. By now we are halfway done with our dinner. We commit ourselves to enjoying the rest of our meal.

Now, picture how this is set up. We are on an elevated platform. There is about 1 foot of space between the table and the short divider wall that separates us from the bar. That space is used for the diners to walk through and for the waitstaff to tend to the tables. The wall and platform are not high. You could conceivably stand there if say, the bar floor is too crowded but you still wanted to talk to your friends. You would just come around up to the platform, park your beer on the divider, and hang over it and talk to your buddies. The only problem is.....

"Excuse me, but I'd rather not have your ass in my face while I am eating."

There's a big marine-type man and his equally macho friend standing in our one foot space, leaning over the divider to talk to the two cackling women. They are leaning in such a way that I can see the lines of their tighty whities through their Dockers. They are making small talk with the women, a conversation I can hear every bit of because these macho men talk in booming voices. It's one of those converstations that center around being a manly-man. On the tv above the bar, CNN or one of those news stations is showing a press conference about the church sexual abuse scandal. The manly-men and cackly women talk about it. I hear the word faggot one time too many. The women laugh. The manly-men make snide remarks about fags.

"Excuse me, I'd rather not have your ugly ass in my face while I'm eating."

Of course he doesn't hear me. I can barely talk above a whisper. I tap him on the back of his college football sweatshirt. He turns, disturbed that someone touched him.

"Do you think you can move somewhere else? Your ass is in my face. I am eating."

He hears me. He snickers. He turns around and continues his tale about how he once beat up a fag for standing too close to him.

We ask our waitress for the check. Now, we tell her. Not a half hour from now. Now. We want out. She throws the check on the table and we leave enough to cover the bill and a 10% tip because I am generally not a bad tipper, but when you choose to watch a kiddie cartoon rather than bring me my drink, you suck.

We stand up to try to make our way through the one foot space, down the platform and out the door. The manly-men don't move.

"Excuse me," Justin says a bit too politely. They don't move their big asses.
"Excuse me," He says again, a bit more edge to his voice. They don't move.

I barge past the one standing closest to me, nearly causing him to spill his drink while I brush against him. I mutter something I know he can't hear under my breath.

Justin is right behind me. Instead of brushing past the man closest to him, he turns sideways so he is facing the man's back. There is barely any room for both of them, and Justin has to squeeze by him to get by. Justin stops for a second, presses his crotch against the manly-man's backside and says, loud enough for the other manly-man to hear, "Nice ass, buddy. Thanks for the view." And then licks his lips and winks at the guy.

We get down the platform and turn back to see the manly-man staring at Justin, a look of disgust on his face. Good thing he was too stunned to come after us.

stuff 3.30

stuff 3.30

I dreamed last night of an enermouse game of hide-and-seek, where we were able to run the world over. It's posted here, because that is where my dreams go.

So we went to Best Buy last night and picked up Titus on DVD because I knew I would need to watch it several times. We also bought Donnie Darko, and watched it twice before the night was over. Strange, bizzare, surreal and fucked up. But a hell of a ride. One of those movies that leaves you scratching your head and wanting more. We watched it the second time with commentary, and while the story made a bit more sense after that, the parts that brought it all together were not things you would be able to surmise without the help of the commentary. And Ian must be following the same movie-watching path as us, because we watched Following the other night also.

Don't you love irony? A school seminar on tolerance was cancelled because some parents protested the attendance of gay and lesbian speakers. No commentary necessary.

When good bloggers go bad.

Today's aortal pick: coffee sites.

And I'm over at bad sam today, too.

March 29, 2002

It's not Lawn Guyland, it's Long Island

It's not Lawn Guyland, it's Long Island

When most of the new people that come into your life are met over an internet connection, itís a good bet that most of those people will be from somewhere you are not. And itís a good bet that they will have pre-conceived notions about the place you come from. I try not to be guilty of that. Iím not going to assume you spend your day farming potatoes if you are from Idaho. I am not going to assume you are a redneck if you are from Alabama. I wonít automatically think you a vampire if you are from Austria (I once heard that all vampires were from Austria).

So when I say I am from Long Island, please donít assume the worst about me. I know youíve heard the stereotypes. Iíve heard the jokes. Iíve heard the assumptions. Letís take some time to dispel them, shall we?

Long Island is not a series of strip malls and highways. There are farms and museums and aquariums. Amusement parks, glorious beaches, tourist attractions and sports teams. Thereís an enormous park that once hosted the Goodwill games.

Long Island is not a series of small, cliquey communities where the girls all have big hair and Gucci bags. Take my town for instance. After 39 years here, I still donít know all the street names. We have five elementary schools. 2 high schools. Population: 51,000. No, I donít know everyone by name. Never will. As for the girls with the big hair and designer bags, yes they do exist. But not in great numbers. We are not all daddyís little girl driving around in a paid for BMW with a bumper sticker that says yield to the princess. We are not all spoiled, whiny brats who spend our days in malls harassing sales clerks.

The accent? Donít have it. I donít say mawl instead of mall or cawfee instead of coffee. I donít sound like Fran Drescher. No one I know talks like that. If they did, I would smack them daily.

Maybe if I got all my knowledge of the culture of other cities and states and countries from sitcoms and entertainment news, I would be just as ignorant of the real people behind the doors. I would assume that Canadians say nothing but eh and aboot. I would assume that Irish people do nothing but drink and all Scottish people wear kilts. California girls are all dumb and blonde and weigh 98 lbs in soaking wet bikinis. Boys from New Jersey all have mullets and listen to Bon Jovi.

See how ridiculous that is? You would get mad, or at least insulted if I made a generalization about you based upon the place you are from, so why do it to me? I mean, why make only the bad generalizations? Did you know that 88 semifinalists of out of 300 for the Westinghouse Science Competition were from Long Island this year? Go ahead and assume Iím smart and talented in the sciences. Think Iíd be flattered? Guess again. Itís still an assumption based on my place of birth. Iím not saying itís in line with other, more insulting forms of blatant stereotyping, but it still annoys me. It still pisses me off that people think I am a rich, spoiled daddyís girl who can do nothing but shop and talk funny, just because of where I live.

Long Island, like any other place on the map, is a mixture of everything good and bad. It is a place of very poor families, of shelters for battered women and drunk drivers. It is a place with high crime areas and jails full of child abusers and rapists. It is a place where the trees keep disappearing in favor of roadways and Walmarts. It is a place where people are rude and in a hurry and donít know how to be civil to one another.

But it is also a place of culture and riches. It has vineyards and mansions. It has towns I canít enter without previous written permission. It has a shoreline that graces you with the most beautiful sunsets during the summer.

For all its vastness and differences, and despite its prevalence of concrete and Home Depots on every corner, I love it here. I am not defending my choice to live here. I am defending my right to be viewed as something other than a caricature or a combination of behaviors you have seen on television.

stuff 3.29

stuff 3.29

What I did on my day off:

Spent two hours in an arcade playing Galaga while my kids attempted to play Dance Dance Revolution. Watched a father and small child bond over killing zombies in House of Dead. It was really heartwarming to see the dad pat the little boy on the head and say things like Nice kill, son! and You really know how to make those brains splatter. That's my boy!

Watched Titus. Have you ever seen Titus? I am completely obsessed with this movie now. Long, bizzare, surreal, sometimes hard to follow, but an incredible piece of film making. I think I'll watch it again today.

Lost my voice. This may be amusing to Justin and my children, but it is frustrating and annoying to me. I knew it was going to happen. I tried to hit the high note in a Radiohead song yesterday and nothing came out. Not even an off-key squeal, which is what I was expecting. Hours later, the voice was pretty much gone. I can manage a few hoarse words here and there. Answering the phones at work will be so much fun today.

Saw Blade II. I love movies that have that one scene where you want to stand up in the middle of the movie theater, point at the screen and yell Take that, motherfucker! Yeeeehaaa! Very little dialogue. Very little resemblance to the first Blade. A whole lot of fun. Action, action everywhere. Completely enjoyable movie going experience.

For the record, I had nothing to do with this. Which reminds me, do you dunk?

I give Easter gifts to my sisters and my mother looks absolutely enraged. Huh, you say? That line courtesy of the website mangler, which comes courtesy of Mr. Blorg.

And this morning, I dreamed of an earthquake in Vermont that reached a 7.5 on the Richter scale. This happened while we were acting out Archie comic books. I was Jughead. Don't laugh, you were the dog.

My usual after-stuff post won't be up until later in the morning. I'm going to try to actually get to work on time today.

Coffee, Paxil and Robitussin. The breakfast of champions.

March 28, 2002

clowning around

clowning around

ICP and Marilyn Manson on Bill O'Reilly tonight. This should be fun.

Working on a long rant about the entertainment industry and parental responsibility. Beating a dead horse, yes. But I like beating this dead horse. More later.

sudden impact

sudden impact

I dreamed last night about high school, as I do often, and it left me wondering. What happened to the people I went to school with? Not just high school, but grammar school and nursery school. All those people who passed through my life, the students, the teachers, the lunch ladies, the secretaries. People I saw every day for years and years, people who in some way impacted my life, whether it was by teaching me how to add, giving me a free pretzel when I lost my lunch money or tying the sash of my prissy dress to the back of the chair so when I stood up the chair came with me. Good, bad, indifferent. So many people have passed through my life, for minutes or hours or years, and they come and go and sometimes never come back. Only in occasional dreams that make the past float in your mind like waves.

I think about C., who was my best friend in high school. I got my period at her house during a party. She, in turn, conceived her daughter on my parent's bed while my parents were in Hawaii. The daughter of this 18 year old girl became my goddaughter, and I haven't seen her since she was nine, and haven't talked to her mother since weeks before my wedding in 1989, when C. for some reason stopped returning my calls. Somewhere out there is a 24 year old woman who is my goddaughter.

I think about R., who was the only boy who would talk to me in grade school. He talked like I was his friend, about the weather and cartoons and whatever ten year olds talk about. I lost touch with R. when we went to separate high schools, but I know what happened to him. He killed himself in 1981, after his girlfriend of five years dumped him. I wonder where she is now, the girlfriend, and if she carries that around with her like an unopened package.

I think about all the teachers I had. Mrs. Reich, who was the best 3rd grade teacher ever, who let us have snacks in the classroom before it was standard to do so, who had a tv in the class so we could watch educational programs, who was always gentle and kind and had chubby, small fingers with liver spots on them. She died when I was in high school. Mrs. Letterman, my first grade teacher who was the tallest woman I had ever seen and Mr. Goldberg, my 6th grade teacher, who was best friends with Bud Harrelson and brought him into the classroom once. I still have the autographed picture.

I remember the names of every person who tortured me and made fun of me. I remember their faces and the clothes they wore. I remember every teacher who was mean to me, every insult hurled my way. But I also remember the kids who tried to be nice, Barbara and Susan, who invited me to their homes for parties even when no one else wanted me there. Mrs. M, my 4th grade teacher, who made sure I was seated far away from my tormenters, who walked me home once and who told me I was the best student she ever had.

I think about all those faces in high school; the kids who never got past the drug stage, who took it with them after graduation and made it part of their everyday lives. I think about the teachers who ran us through our lessons as if racing from one period to the next, and the teachers who took their time with us and really taught us something. I think about the kids who had too much money to throw around and thought that would get them everywhere they needed to go, and the kids who threw only footballs or basketballs and thought that would get them through life.

I think about all the students I've ever spent time with in a classroom. Every kid, from nusery school through senior year and I wonder how many of them became what threy set out to be. How many of them are in the jobs they envisioned for themselves, how many of them turned out to be the person they wanted to be? I wonder if any of them think about the impact they had on other people, how their words or actions or acts of kindness left an indelible imprint on someone's life.

I wonder if any of them remember me, if I've ever done anything to leave an impression on someone, so that 20, 30 years later they still see my face in their mind. If they wonder, like I do, what became of that little girl in the pinafore dress.

stuff 3.27

stuff 3.27

My cable bill is astronomical. It's by choice that it's so high. I subsrcribe to the premium package, plus the premium sports package and digital cable. Add to that my cable internet connection fee and my bill looks like the national debt. One of the reasons I get the sports package is so we can watch the Yankees on the MSG Network. Now, the Yankees have formed the YES Network and will be showing 130 Yankee games on that station. It was their intention that Cablevision should include the YES Network as part of basic cable. But no, Cablevision wants to add it as a pay channel. Meaning we would only get 30 or so Yankee games on tv unless we wanted to add even more onto our monthly cable bill. There are negotiations going on between Cablevision and the YES Network. Opening day is Monday. Cablevision once again has us by the balls. This isn't the first time they've tried to fuck the fans over. It won't be the last. And they are the only cable company on the block. The sad thing is, if they end up winning and putting the YES Network on as a pay channel, I will probably subscribe to it.

About two weeks ago, I wrote something about careless driving and driving under the influence. Eventually, things like that hit home. This volunteer firehouse lost two members (brothers) on September 11th, and now they have suffered another loss because of one person's selfishness and ignorance. The man who died was a good friend of my brother-in-law, who is a member of that firehouse. Tragedy doesn't come in only large numbers. It comes to many people, every day and goes mostly unnoticed by the rest of the world.

And, rounding out my trip through the local paper, Natalie's school is listed as one of those that fall below state standards in 8th grade math. Which does not bode well for us, as math is her main downfall. I also found out the students are tracked and labeled starting in 7th grade. So next year Natalie can look forward to being labeled as "Regents with support" while most of her friends go to honors and I can pretty much see where this is headed. Why can't they do it without the labeling? If I had to do it all over again, I would homeschool.

Things to look at: Melly and Sarah both have redesigned. As did bad sam, and I think I shall be posting there today.

Today's aortal pick: collective arts.

Post of the day. Steve's feelings about the church sex abuse scandal mirror my own. Then read Michael's excellent post on the subject.

I need coffee.

March 27, 2002

bring it on home


bring it on home

Again. I am sick again. This has been the cruelest winter, ever. And don't tell me it's not winter anymore, I won't believe you. I still have the heat on. That means winter.

We get notices home from school when there is a communicable disease going around. I flip through the kids' folders and see notices for bowling, cookie sales, field trips, strep throat, standardized tests, mono, head lice. Yes, always the head lice. We have never suffered that, thankfully. So this winter has been a constant deluge of flyers warning about weird rashes and red throats and pocky skin and the nasty stomach virus that wouldn't die. Oh, and that fever thing that was going around. Just a fever, nothing else.

So of course, my kids have brought home everything. They can't be like other kids and just bring home artwork and leftover yogurt that makes their lunchbox smell like a slaughterhouse. No, they bring home the diseases. Every one of them. The thing is, they get these things for a day or two, and they're over it. Just like that. Neither of them have missed more than one day at a time. What's that old saying? Children are resilient. Yes. They bounce back from everything. Maybe all those fortified vitamins and real fruit juice concentrate found in Nickelodeon gummy snacks have built up their immune system. Lord knows that my daily dose of vitamins and folic acid and real, honest to goodness fruit hasn't done anything for me.

The kids stay home one day, recover nicely and skip off to school and activities the next day. And I'm home, lying on the couch and begging for one more dose of NyQuil. Sometimes the kids don't even get the disease first. We just get the notice and next thing you know, I've come down with whatever is going around the school. Either the notices have been sprayed with the spittle of the kid who started the illness going in the first place, or my kids are just carriers.

I tried to sleep last night between the coughing and the sniffing and burning in my throat. I took more NyQuil than is humanly digestible and it must have acted as some sort of hallucinagenic after the third dose, because I dreamed of a webloggers convention where everyone took the form of movie monster. You think it would be a scary dream, right? Nope, because I was Ash from Evil Dead and I took you all on and won. And after I massacred the whole lot of you evil creatures, I sat in the hotel lobby and ate butter and jelly on crackers. And when I sipped my tea from a dainty, flowered cup, I held my pinky out like a sophisticate, while your monstrous bodies lay at my feet. The stench of death was in the air and when I drank my tea it tasted of victory and blood.

I woke up with a NyQuil hangover and a post-nasal drip that was making me gag. For once, I am going to stay home from work without a sick kid to take care of. I am going to sit on the couch all day and read and watch bad daytime tv and nod off every once in a while to dream about conquering the webloggers from hell.

March 26, 2002

summer of 12

New QOD ---->

summer of 12

12 then and 12 now are worlds apart.

12 then was blissful ignorance.

12 now is the weight of the world.

When I was 12 my summer days were spent barefoot in my backyard, alternating between the pool and the sprinkler and the blanket on the lawn. I left the backyard only when I heard the tinny ringing of the ice-cream truck. I would run out to the street, hopping like mad from one foot to the other in an effort to not feel the full scorch of the burning blacktop. Al the ice-cream man would hurry us along in a heavy accent. Sometimes we understood him and sometimes we didn't. And sometimes Al was in a talktative mood and he would show us the numbers tattooed on his arm. We would shrug, not really knowing what the story was. We couldn't understand his accent, and even if we did, it seemed like too heavy a story to carry with our melting cones.

Today, 12 means you have read at least three historical fiction stories about the Holocaust. 12 means you would know what the numbers on Al's arm were.

When I was 12 my summer nights were spent in the street, playing kickball with my cousins. Sometimes we played kick-the-can and we would run through the neighbors yards, hiding in their shrubbery and under their porches. We played until we were too tired to run, and then we would walk down to the candy store to buy soda and snacks.

Today, 12 means you can't play in the street because there are too many cars. 12 means your neighbor's lawn is off limits because it was just sprayed with some chemical to make their grass grow greener. 12 means you can't walk to the store at night, because there are too many strangers.

When I was 12 we went to the beach and for family drives and spent leisurely days at the park. We woke up late and watched morning tv in our pajamas until we were shooed outside. Our days were long and unstructured and lazy.

Today's 12 means summer camp or summer school and getting up with the birds. It is structure and bus rides just like the rest of the year. Family drives and trips to the beach are scheduled events. Time is managed. Soccer, baseball, dance, enrichment programs, swim lessons.

When I was 12 I wasn't afraid of the world. Current events in school meant local news, fluff stories, a few science-related pieces. Health lessons centered around hygiene and grooming. Drug education was non-existent. Learning about the environment meant paying attention to don't litter signs.

Today's 12 is frightening. Current events are happening in their own backyard. War and terrorism are part of the daily venacular. Health lessons include segments on AIDS and condoms and learning how to say no. Drug education is imperative. Today's 6th graders know about ozone layers and recycling and toxins in the water.

Today's 12 is better educated than I was. They are more informed. They are better prepared. But they are not the 12 of carefree childhood and innocence. They are somehow older, wiser and a bit more cynical than I ever knew at 12.

Perhaps today's 12 is more prepared to deal with the world than the 12 year olds of my day were. But I still have to lament that their childhood is almost over at an age when it should be in its prime.

stuff 3.26

stuff 3.26

New QOD: to dunk or not to dunk.

Remember when I said I would never volunteer for anything again? Remember when I said you should smack me upside the head if I do? Ok, smack me. Now.

I don't know what happened. I took Natalie to the opening girl's PAL basketball clinic last night, and ten minutes into the thing, I'm signing a paper that says I will coach her team. And there I am, in platforms and a too-short shirt, running drills with the girls. And I'm pretty much clueless about this. So, if anyone would like to give me a crash course in girls basketball, please...help. The last thing I need is to give a 12 year old girl further cause to be embarassed by her mother. I mean, at this age I am an embarassment for just existing.

Please check out my aortal pick for this week, What Was I Thinking. Because you don't have to be a rocket scientist to blog, but sometimes you are.

Please welcome rubber nun to the sidebar.

I didn't really watch all of the Oscars. Honestly, I've seen more Razzie winners than Oscar winners. But my observation just from seeing the pictures: Can these people not afford grooming accessories?

It's called a hairbrush, people. Look into it.

March 25, 2002

special moments from my family album

special moments from my family album

scene: Palm Sunday, parent's living room, whole family present.

Baseball season has not yet begun and the in-fighting between the Yankee and Met fans in my family has already gotten down and dirty.

Dad is a Met fan. Mom is a Yankee fan. Dad has been goading mom all day, making cutting remarks here and there about the Yankees. They trade Gooden and Strawberry jokes, good naturedly ribbing each other about past team transgressions.

After dinner we sit in the living room and the jokes continue. Dad mentions something about the Yankee lockeroom incident. I don't remember exactly what it was, but mom ends up having to defend the integrity of the entire Yankee team. Shouting ensues.

"You're always defending them, no matter what they do!"
"I am NOT!"
"You're a whore! You're a Yankee whore!"
"Did you just call me a whore?"
"Yes! You might as well be giving blow jobs to Roger Clemens!"
Silence. Everyone stares at my father. We stifle giggles while my mother looks absolutely enraged.
"You have the nerve to say that in front of our children?"
Dad looks sheepishly at my mom.
"I'm sorry."
"I meant to say Derek Jeter."
We roll on the floor laughing while my mom chases dad around the living room with the fireplace poker.

Just another Kodak moment.

the war against SUVs

the war against SUVs

A flyer was left on the windshield of my car yesterday while I was in the supermarket. It said, in part: Thank you for ruining the environment. Your gas-guzzling SUV is destroying our air. It went on for a few more sentences, in big bold font, basically implying that I should be shot on site.

I looked around the parking lot and spotted three teenage boys darting in and out of the cars with stacks of the green flyers in their hands. They were pinning them under the windshield of every SUV they could find which, admittedly, is an awful lot in any Long Island parking lot.

I know I am looked upon with scorn by many people. I've read the editorials. I've heard the debates. SUVs and their owners are the enemy to many people. And you know what? I don't care.

Before I owned my Ford Explorer, I owned a Cadillac. I get much better gas mileage with the SUV then I ever did with that boat on wheels. I don't see environment-minded activists slapping bumper stickers on Cadillacs. There's more to this than gas mileage. I have had people complain to me that I bought the Explorer as some kind of suburban status symbol. Right. A 97 model of a car does not a status symbol make.

I chose an SUV for many reasons. It makes it easier to lug around baseball equipment and skates and helmets and bicycles and the neighbor's kids. I can grocery shop without crushing half of my cereal boxes in the trunk of a car. And who do you call when you need to pick up furniture from Ikea or your sister needs help moving? That's right. Call the person with the roomy SUV. We're good enough for that, right?

I chose an SUV for self preservation also. I see how you people drive. You weave in and out of lanes in your little Toyotas or Hondas, never using your turn signals. You creep up my ass when I'm slowing down in a school zone and you blow by me on the wrong side of the road if I dare make a full stop at a stop sign. You fly by intersections without yielding and come around corners without looking first.

I'm not afraid of you anymore. Not like when I had my Caddy or Mustang and I would cower in fear at you speed demons and rule breakers. Nope. I'm bigger than you. You come around that corner by my house without looking one day and I'm in your way, you're the one who is going to end up packed like a sardine in a crushed tin box. The way you drive your little economy car is one of the reasons I bought the SUV you hate so much. And let's face it. I'm not even the biggest fish in the pond anymore. Why waste time on my little Explorer when there are Excursions and Navigators who make my truck look like a matchbox car?

So I'm still sitting in my car, watching these kids play hunt the SUV, and one of them runs past me. I yell "hey!" out the window and the kid stops in his tracks. He looks at me defiantly, Marlboro dangling out of his mouth, as I hold up the flyer he left in my windshield earlier. I look him in the eye.

"Do you realize how many acres of rainforest had to be destroyed so you can make these flyers? And put that cigarette out. You're polluting my air."

I left him standing there with a blank look on his face as I pulled away in my SUV, a week's worth of groceries and various sports equipment all fit snugly in the back.

March 24, 2002

time of the season

time of the season

Spring has sprung, as they say. Never mind that I was freezing my ass off yesterday or that I still have the heat on in the house. It's spring, damn it. Easter is next week and that means little kids in cute dresses and bonnets, not down jackets and knit caps.

Ok, no bonnets. When was the last time you saw a kid in an Easter bonnet? You're lucky if you can get kids into a simple pair of dress pants or a nice sweater these days. Well at least my kids. Dress-up means wearing jeans instead of sweats. The Ranger jersey instead of the Bruins jersey.

So anyhow, it's spring and Easter break is here and this is a week of preparation and symbolism. Atheist as I may be, my family is not and I conform to their holiday rituals if not for my kids, then at least for the food.

We do Passover as well, because my brother-in-law is Jewish and his family is out of state. It's basically just for the ritual of it. I think he learned all he knows about this holiday from Rugrats Passover. It's all about the ritual.

We go through the decorating of the Easter eggs and the hiding of the Easter eggs and the realization a week later that the smell coming from under the radiator is the egg that got away. We have dispensed with the idea of the Easter bunny and the kids get baskets filled with things like baseball cards and colored, sparkly lip gloss. That's for Natalie, not DJ. Though you never know.

I make Easter bread because I made it one year out of boredom and I got stuck doing it every year since. It's messy, it takes a long time and I really hate baking, but the end result is pretty damn satisfying. I end up eating way too much of the uncooked dough and I get a stomach ache every year. Symbolism: Easter makes me sick.

I give Easter gifts to my sisters and my mother and aunts. I buy small clay pots and fill them with packets of seeds and small gardening tools. I may not be part of the real ritual and meaning of Easter in the catholic tradition, but I can still find symbolism in the holiday. Easter, to me, is a celebration of spring and renewal and growth. Hence the seeds and planters.

And while Easter is sort of the beginning of things, it also marks a halfway point in the year for me. School is winding down. Summer is coming. Time to think about summer camp and summer vacations and wondering where the hell another school year went. It seems like I spend the entire year lamenting the months that just passed and dreading the months ahead. There's always one more obstacle ahead of you, but then again there's always one more obstacle left behind.

So even though it's only about 30 degrees out, I'll head over to the local greenhouse today and look over the flats of flowers they have out, pick out a few and bring them home with the full realization that I will probably kill them before they really have the chance to flourish. I have a black thumb. I can't even keep fake plants healthy. The flats will sit out on my porch until about 3 weeks from now, when I find the time to plant them. But again, it's the act of buying the flowers and making the attempt. Turning over the earth, digging down and putting new life into it. And finding underneath the bush, that last, now-rotted Easter egg that we forgot about.

March 23, 2002

little white lies

little white lies

Standing on line in 7-11, I overheard a converstation between a mother and her young son. The son was relating a story about a friend's friend who found half a bug in his ham sandwich. The boy was worried that his friend's friend would die of some dreaded bug-induced disease. The mother remarked that everyone eats bugs now and then, we just don't know it. In fact, she said, studies show that the average person eats about 18 bugs during their lifetime.

I had heard a similar statistic pronounced by my own mother, back when Natalie was caught eating a grasshopper. It occurred to me that there was never really a study done on such a thing. It's just one of those things that people say to make you feel better. See also:

It's good luck for it to rain on your wedding day.
Good things come in small packages.
Einstein failed math, too.
At least you have your health.
Sperm is filled with protein.

I didn't forget....

I didn't forget....

Happy Birthday to Chris, one of my all time favorite bloggers and friends.

Here's wishing you a year of successful novel writing, good music, and sexy, smart gay men banging down your door.

You can pick your present up on May 2.

basiliskitis and truancy

basiliskitis and truancy

I let DJ stay home from school yesterday. No strep throat or stomach virus or anything like that. Nope, he had come down with something called basiliskitis.

basiliskitis: Dreaded disease caused by an incomplete report on the basilisk lizard; symptoms include tears, pleading and eventual angst-induced stomach ache.

The thing is, he had all week to do it. But he was also assigned a Rainforest report the same week, which entailed doing part of the project every night. This also came the same week Natalie had two huge projects due, plus other homework that they both had. This left very little time to get all projects completed.

DJ worked until late Thursday night (well, late for a 9 year old), making a cover for his report, rewording the report three or four times, making the cover over again...it's tough being a perfectionist. I left him alone to help Natalie finish her science lab and when I went back in his room, he was sound asleep on the floor, surrounded by crumbled papers and a not nearly finished report. I put him in bed and figured I would wake him up early to get the paper done before school.

This was incredibly optimistic on my part. Most of the morning was spent with him crying that the report wasn't good enough, the cover looked bad, the rainforest project still wasn't done. Meanwhile, Natalie was in a panic over her hair, her clothes, etc., and I was trying to calm her down the same time I was trying to convince DJ that he could get his paper done before it was time to leave. This is all at 6:30 in the morning. Justin gets up and tries to help DJ with his paper, but it's too late. The breakdown has commenced. The crying and pleading has started. After fifteen minutes of this, I relent. I call work, tell them DJ is sick and I'm staying home, and send him to his room to work on his report for the day.

So, the question remains, did I do the right thing? After reviewing the situation, I am left with the following answers. Please choose one.

a) You are a rotten mother who has taught her child how to shirk responsibility.
b) You are a rotten mother who has shirked her own responsibility of making sure her children complete their school work on time.
c) You are a sucker who has let her child completely manipulate her.
c) You are a shrewd mother, who will later use this as a bargaining chip (remember that time I let you stay home....).
d) You have passed your procrastinating skills on to your children and your sense of guilt overpowered your desire to send him to school without the complete report.
e) I am calling the truancy officers on you.
f) I don't care. Where's the penis and farting stories I came here for?

March 22, 2002

sucky summer jobs: #22 in a series

sucky summer jobs: #22 in a series

I tired of my job at the deli and wanted to move on to something more challenging. I needed to do something more worthwhile than slicing salami as a way to pay for my nighclubbing and drinking. Something that wouldn't leave me smelling like head cheese at the end of the day.

A friend of a friend of a cousin told me about this place that was hiring. It sounded an awful lot like a telemarketer job, which I would never do, but it was for a charity, and therefore didn't count as telemarketing. Right?

The first day of the training seminar proved that point. Our team leader stood up in front of us and told us we were not to call ourselves telemarketers. We were activists. We were paving the way for change. We were catalysts in the fight against drunk driving. We were the few, the proud, the people begging for money for a cause. I left the seminar feeling like I was doing something useful with my life. My naive ideals were soaring.

The second day, the altruism took a back seat to the sales pitch. Sales? I thought we were activists! Our team leader spoke in basketball metaphors for two hours; driving to the basket, blocking the shots, finally hitting the three-pointer with just seconds to go. When I left the seminar, I felt less like an activist and more like Dr. J.

The third and final day should have clued me in on what I was in for. Our fearless leader drilled us on the fine points of clinching the donation. Cite statistics. Make them feel bad. Tell them stories. She then handed out photocopied news clippings of horrid, tragic car accidents resulting from drunk driving. We were to tell our potential donors some of these stories if all else failed. If we had them in tears by the end of the call, we would be the superstars of the office. My stinging conscience was kicking my naive ideals in the head.

I figured I would give it two days tops. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe, because this was a worthy cause and one people were very concerned about, I wouldn't have to make the hard sell. Sure! People would just give willingly! I would never have to utter a harsh word or tell a tragic story or make anyone cry. This would be a piece of cake, and my conscience would be left intact.

I was directed to a tiny room in the basement, where the walls were lined with little wooden cubicles. I was directed to my very own cubicle. On the desk was a phone and a kitchen timer. The wall I faced was lined with the same newspaper clippings that were passed out at the seminar. Those people in those stories, I was told, they are counting on you. They are watching you. I was told to set the timer at the beginning of each call, and that I was to keep each caller on the line for a minimum of one minute of soft selling. After one minute, I should start the hard sell. I was given a list of 100 numbers to start out with.

I noticed that the neighborhood I was given was a wealthy one. This made me feel a little better. At least these people had money to spare. Maybe I wouldn't have to reduce anyone to tears.

After a half hour, I didn't have any donations. Apparently, all the people on my list had housekeepers. And none of them spoke English. At least not to telemarketers. The team leader came over and looked at my tally sheet. She was not pleased. I explained the situation. I can't reach anyone who speaks English, I told her. And even if they did speak English, they would say that they are just the housekeepers, that I should call back.

"They're lying to you," she said.
"The housekeepers are lying?"
"They're not really the housekeepers, you idiot!" Her breath stunk like garlic pickles. I tried to move my head back from hers, but she leaned in on me until our foreheads were touching.
"Are you going to believe every inconsiderate person who comes on the line and tells you a reason why they can't give? Are you a sucker? Are you that naive? Let them know you know they're lying.! These people depend on you!"She pointed to the tragic news stories on the wall.
"No buts. Tell them. Tell them if they don't give money, they will feel horrible next time something like this appears on the evening news. They will understand that. They will understand guilt. And trust me, they understand English."

I weighed my options. What was this job going to pay me anyhow? If I couldn't make a sale I would be bringing home less than minimum wage. It would barely pay for one night's admission to the club. I could go back to the deli. It wasn't so bad. The people were nice. I didn't have to make anyone cry in order to sell a pound of liverwurst.

I stood up and faced my leader. I told her I was done. This wasn't the job for me. Told her I'd rather smell like head cheese than spend another day with her poking and prodding my conscience. She didn't get the part about the head cheese. She probably didn't get the part about having a conscience, either.

12/10/02: To Instapundit readers: The comments on this archived post do not work. If you would like to comment, do it here. Thanks.

March 21, 2002

skeletons in my closet

skeletons in my closet

I wanted to do a bit of spring cleaning yesterday, so I thought I would start with the closet. But damn, I forgot those skeletons were in there. What the hell....it's time to drag out all those skeletons and dirty little secrets that have been hidden under the pile of old clothes for so long. It's a big huge confessional here today.

1. I was a teenage Dead Head.
That's right. I wore flowery shirts and tie-dye pants and spent hours in a smoky arena swaying to never-ending jams and feeling the love. I was a wanna-be hippie and needed nothing more in life than great ideals and a nickel bag of pot.

2. I was a complete geek in grade school.
I wore dresses that looked like this. In 5th grade even. I wanted to be a hall monitor. I took the bus to the library every Saturday for the special reading programs. I was the teacher's pet and proud of it.

3. I am a registered Republican.
Was that the sound of 100 people dropping to the floor in a faint? Relax, it's only for political-connections and employment purposes. I've never, in all the years I have been eligible, voted for a Republican president. As a matter of fact....

4. I voted for Ross Perot.
Oh, and in 1980, my first time voting for president, I voted for John Anderson.

5. I love musicals.
I can sing along with any of them, a trait Justin finds frightening. Find me a musical on tv, and I will get up and sing to every song. Want to watch me act out South Pacific? I can, you know.

6. I was a gif abuser.
When I first got online several years ago, I made a website. It had animated, spinning gifs. It had flashing dividers and rotating email signs. And...a...midi. I'm sorry.

I think that's enough for now. And stop laughing and pointing at me. You know damn well there are things just as bad in your own closet. At least I've admitted mine.

i dream of tech tv

i dream of tech tv

I had a dream that I won this contest on Call for Help. Chris Pirillo and his crew flew to my house in helicopters. They were going to look at all our computers (there seemed to be about 100 of them) and tweak them and add programs and make them super powerful.

So I hear the copters overhead, and I see Chris dangling from one of them on a rope, he's going to drop into my house like some kind of superhero. There are camera crews and make up people. There's only one problem. I'm not dressed. I am running around the house in my underwear and I can't find my pants. And none of the pants I do find fit me. I hide in the closet and wait for someone to bring me something to wear. I finally find a pair of pants hidden under an old raincoat. I put them on and when I come out, Chris is gone and my whole family got new computers and got to be on tv, except for me because I wasn't wearing pants.

Today's aortal pick: the other spite meat.
QOD still running.

March 19, 2002

warm fuzzies


warm fuzzies

Sometimes in the middle of the night when the wind sounds like a ghost and the shadow of the rocking chair looks like a hunchbacked monster and all the worries and anxieties of the day are circling your head and screaming at you like banshees, you need warm fuzzies.

So I layed there in the dark (ok, I turned the nighlight on) and tried to think of all things memories that give me that warm, comfortable feeling inside. Those moments that you would love a chance to replay over and over again, or just experience one more time. My warm fuzzies:

The time I had the measles and my mom set up the lounge chair for me outside, so I wouldn't miss a beautiful spring day. She gave me a blanket and a pillow and a pile of books and made me lunch and served it to me. Then she sat next to me and read with me until I fell asleep in the sun.

All the times it snowed on Christmas eve, when I would stand at the front door and delight in the way the snow looked almost blue at night, the way it made everything glow and sparkle. And in my child's eye, every twinkling star could have been Santa flying through the sky.

The smell of my grandmother's house on a Sunday morning. Tomatoes and garlic and olive oil, so sweet and wonderful and strong that I could smell it as I stood on the sidewalk outside her house.

My children when they were infants, both of whom loved to fall asleep on top of me in the recliner, their little heads resting on my shoulder, their fingers curled around mine, and I'm glad I knew enough then to treasure those quiet, serene moments.

The first time I kissed Justin, on the Amtrak platform in Penn Station.

The second time I kissed Justin, outside of Penn Station, the noise and bustle of New York City all around us. We were oblivious to everyone and everything except for the man who stopped us mid-kiss and asked if we had just gotten married because we were behaving like newlyweds.

Every "I love you" that was every spoken to me or by me with sincere honesty.

Summer storms when the sky gets suddenly dark and the wind comes out of nowhere and the thunder shakes the ground.

Autumn days where the sky is that perfect blue and the leaves are a million shades of October.

Waking up and laying in bed, feeling that dread of another workday in your stomach and head, then realizing it's Saturday.

Finding a favorite movie on the tv while having a 3am insomnia bout.

Having a bedtime story whispered in your ear in the middle of the night when you are having a hard time getting back to sleep. Falling asleep in the arms of your favorite storyteller.

And yours?

have you seen my muse?

new QOD

have you seen my muse?

I was staring at the monitor, and then the keyboard, trying to summon up the muse to create today's post. But as has happened a few times over the past few days, the muse seems to be sleeping. Hence the penis posts.

I'm nervous that the Paxil is dulling me. It could be just the natural ebb and flow of my cycle, where sometimes I am creative and prolific and sometimes I can't even write a limerick. But it worries me that it's something else.

It's been a week now, and today my dose gets doubled and I am taking stock of the past week. Well, the past two days. Because honestly, in the last two days I have felt subtle changes. I feel calmer, more relaxed, like the "ants in my pants" that my mother always complained about are gone. I can sit and play a game of Scrabble with Justin and not feel like I need to be doing three other things at the same time. I have a bit more patience with the kids. I don't feel like I am living in a constant state of rushing off somewhere.

People have noticed. People who have no idea that I am taking anything have commented that I look more relaxed or I seem happier. Happy? Me? No one has ever called me that. Is this what I want? I mean, I've always been happy for the most part, at least in the last three years. But I always had that cynical edge to keep the pretty bunnies/happy flowers part of me from taking over. I like the simmering anger part of me. It's what keeps me motivated. It's what keeps me creative and keeps me writing and makes me want to change the world.

What I want is to lose the anxiety without losing everything else. Perhaps I am looking too hard into things. Maybe my cynicism and sarcasm are still there, but just not present at the moment because I am tired. It's been a long two weeks, I am still having bizarre dreams every night that keep me feeling exhausted, so maybe that's why I sit here to write and my mind can't find the words I want to say.

I'm still nervous about losing any part of me except the part I wanted to get rid of. I don't want to lose my passion for the things that I love. If I lose my ability to write, I lose me. Everything I gain by taking that little pill each morning will be overshadowed by the fact that I can't write anymore.

Of course, I may still be in that old mode of making mountains out of molehills. The worrying part of my is not going to go away overnight. That's just my nature. But if one more day goes by where I can't think of anything interesting to say or an interesting way in which to say it, I am going to have to seriously rethink my options.

I don't want to be selfish. I know the small changes that have appeared in the past few days are things that have made a big difference to those around me. I just don't want my creativity to be dulled. I don't want the words to dry up. Because without these words, I am only part of me. I've been writing since I'm old enough to hold a pencil. What if I wasted my whole life saying "I'll become a writer tomorrow" and now tomorrow is never going to come? What if the words have dried up already?

I know, I'm over reacting. That's just a part of me that will never go away, no matter how many pills I pop a day. At least, I hope I am over reacting. I hope that I'm just tired or going through a lull or my brain just wants a little break. I hope my muse didn't pack up and leave town. I mean, what if my anxiety was my muse?

I don't even want to think about that.

stuff 3.19

stuff 3.19

New QOD, where the Q is not for Question, but for Quote.

So many issues, so little time. There's god-induced book banning, an "army of god" throwing support to a bomber, men of god not only abusing children, but pratically hiding those who do, and you see where I'm going with this.

Oh, I wasn't going to read the news anymore, was I? Damn. Old habits die hard.

But hey, the Rangers got Pavel Bure. Gotta take the good news where you can.

And just for the record, if you are going to compare playing in a Streetfighter tournament to making love to a woman (clip 2), you probably have never made love to a woman. Inflatables don't count.

March 18, 2002

more penis fun

more penis fun

So everyone wants to know: where's the guy with his penis in the coke bottle? Where's the link? The pictures?

Well it was just an urband legend, people. But who am I to disappoint? You want penis stories? You got em.

Man pounds penis with hammer and nails, spills cola on it, has it chewed off by rats.

Penis Captivus

Mountain Dew shrinks penis size.

Penis stuck in swimming pool suction.

Penis glued to leg as revenge.

C3P0's penis.

Penis + vacuum cleaner = sucks.

Scrotum self repair.

Severed penis stuck to freezer.

Had enough yet?

what rhymes with fetus?

what rhymes with fetus?

Things seen on the way to work today:

1. A man standing on the side of the road, in the freezing rain/sleet/hail, wearing a denim shirt tucked into way-too-tight jeans, which were tucked into way-too-absurd cowboy boots. The outfit was topped off with a cowboy hat which was adorned with a silver star on the front. I imagine that he was waiting until high noon to take out his six-shooter.

2. A plastic doll in the middle of the road, head and legs pulled apart from the body and strewn in the right hand lane like the wreckage of a make-believe car accident.

3. The remains of a raccoon, crushed and bloody and strangely reminiscent of the plastic doll.

4. A sign that said "Let us Lube You Good!"

The first phone call today was from a person who said he was suffering from "pugilistic dementia" and who promised me, though it is of no concern of mine, that he would never get arrested for walking into his old high school again.

The second phone call was obviously a wrong number, but I could not convince the woman on the phone of that. For five full minutes she insisted that I should be able to procure circus tickets for her or at least tell her whether or not the elephants are trained "humanisticly" whatever that should mean. I really would have liked to stayed on the line with her. She was rather...interesting. I couldn't however, because...

A co-worker and I realized that the ancient mail lady looks like a fetus. We spent the rest of the morning composing limericks about it, and because....

I seem to once again have come into work with toothpaste on my shirt and I am no longer defending myself against the people who swear it is a bodily fluid. Instead, I am making up sordid stories about pulling over on the way to work for a good lube with a sidewalk cowboy.

Is it Friday yet?

too much information

too much information

I'm feeling the same as some other people. I'm feeling over-newsed and over informed and I'm just about ready to shut it all off.

CNN has become a member of our family.. It's always there, on one tv or another, laying low in the background. Even when the sound isn't on, the images flash before us, the scrolling words on the bottom announcing all kinds of hate and anger and sadness.

And it's not just the television. I already stopped reading the morning paper. I give a cursory glance to the local news on their website each morning, just to see if there is anything worth writing about. I stopped looking at all the news sites 40 times a day just to see what's going on.

It's not only the war and terrorism. It's the whole other world of hurt that is out there. It's mothers drowning their kids and husbands shooting their wives. It's 50 car pile-ups and raging fires and grown ups beating each other to death. It's dwindling freedoms and isms of every kind and sexual abuse and sexual discrimination and people suffering for just being who they are.

It's depressing. It's detrimental to my effort to get out of my doldrums and into a brighter phase of my life. Combined with my general worry over the future and the prospect of turning 40 this year, watching the news has become just another addition to the anxieties I heap on myself every day. It is counter-productive to the way I need to live my life right now.

I don't want to be completely uninformed. I'll still skim the headlines and to tell you the truth, I get a more honest presentation of the news from several weblogs than I get in my local paper, anyhow.

I don't want to put my head in the sand. But I do want a reprieve from those dark clouds every once in a while. Now is one of those times.

Now, I just have to find some more entertaining sort of news. Like the guy who got his penis stuck in a coke jar. Now, that's the kind of news I can deal with.

click here

click here

And then I just wanted to say that if you never read Eeksy Peeksy you should. The words make paintings in your head. Beautiful.

I dream of Sam Donaldson

I dream of Sam Donaldson

It's Monday and I can't explain how much I despise Monday mornings. This Monday brings a headache of gargantuan proportions and sleet, ice and snow to go along with it. Excuse me, but wasn't spring here on Saturday? Wasn't it 70 degrees? I've been saying all along that Yankees opening day will be snowed out this year. Mark my words.

So with an on-again/off-again cable connection and a pounding head, the only thing I can offer you today is the dream which probably caused this headache.

There was a dance at the school, except the dance was being held in a trailer adjacent to the school. I knew what was going to happen. I knew there was going to be a fire in the trailer. In my dream, I knew I had dreamed this before, so I tried to warn everyone. Of course, no one would listen. The principal and the other office staff would come over to the trailer every once in a while (they were all over 7 feet tall) and sniff in the windows and realize they smelled something funny, but would shrug their shoulders and walk away. I tried. I really did. But it was like I was invisible.

The Smashing Pumpkins were playing in the school cafeteria. I went in and they were playing "Mayonaise" and I was holding someone's baby. Everyone had babies. And they were all going to head over to the dance. But every time I tried to open my mouth to say something about the fire, nothing would come out. Instead, everyone left their babies with me and headed over to the trailer. I was left in the brightly-lit cafeteria with babies and Billy Corgan and pink streamers hanging from the ceiling.

I went outside and found my friend Bonnie and she was waiting on her boyfriend, who was the leader of a gang called "The Sticks." They wore red sashes on white shirts and red berets and they looked like hall monitors from hell. They came and got Bonnie and took her to the dance, even though she knew I was telling the truth about the fire. The look of resignation in her eyes was sad. She knew she was going into the trailer to meet her eventual death, but she couldn't say no to her gang-leader, hall monitor boyfriend. She kept glancing at me as she walked away, and I held her baby and wished her luck.

The fire started, as expected, and I fled the with my sister in one of those airport cabs that look like a bus. I kept having this feeling like I forgot to do something, and I suppose it came from the fact that I left all the babies in the cafeteria and that my own kids were at the dance.

We arrived at a sprawling hotel, where we were told to go around the back into the Disney resort area. We walked into the lobby and there were stalls set up that featured virtual video games. Most of them involved Sonic the Hedgehog inflicting some sort of pain on you. My boss walked by with a huge drink that was in a tikki mug, and the tikki mug was laughing at me. I tried to hide, because I was supposed to be at work, but he sort of walked right through me as if I wasn't there.

Suddenly the room went quiet and a woman announced that we should all stand and welcome our governor George Pataki. He walked into the room and he had aged about 20 years and was bald and fat. Everyone applauded, except for me because I don't applaud Republicans and the hostess threw me out of the dining area.

I needed to get a cab back to the school to see what happened with the fire. I was worried about everyone, but even more worried that I was somehow going to be blamed for it because I knew about it in advance. No one would believe that I had only dreamed of it and was using my dream as a warning.

The cab never came and I found myself in a party room sipping a drink with an umbrella in it and wearing a grass skirt. Sam Donaldson was there, and he took me down a flight of stairs, where there was a river and a boat waiting for me. I guided the boat through a series of lilly pads and ended back at the now burning trailer.

All the babies were lined up and waiting for me, arms outstretched. The gang members were all laying on the ground, now charred corpses identifiable only by their red sashes.

There was a gang of survivors coming after me, Frankenstein style, with torches in their hands. They were chanting and singing and leading the pack were Billy Corgan, Sam Donaldson and Todd. Todd was mad because I got the last box of Spiderman cereal.

Suddenly they are pelting me with rocks and stones and I can hear the rocks hitting the ground but I can't feel them. I just hear the sound, over and over, as I cower on the charred dirt.

I wake up to the sound of sleet hitting the windows and vow to never again eat a Slim Jim before bed.

March 17, 2002

road rules

road rules

My brother-in-law has this side job where he takes pictures of accidents for the local utility company when the accidents involve one of their poles. This happens more often than you would think. Lots of roadway, lots of people in a rush, too much drinking and driving. The accidents are always ugly, often fatal.

We got to my sister's house last night at about 6:30 and her husband was on his way from one pole hit to another. Big drinking night, the night before a Sunday St.Patrick's Day. Big drinking night equals big pole hit night.

So, we are there about two minutes and the phone rings. It's my mother, and she wants to make sure Justin and I are accounted for. There has been a terrible car accident down the block (she lives across the street from me). She can see the flashing lights and hear the sirens and she just wanted to make sure all her chickies were safe in their nests. We call her back a half hour later, wondering if all our relatives who live on our block were at home. She says everyone we know is ok, it's not a relative that is in the mangled mess down the block. The lights are still flashing, the sirens still blaring. From what she hears, they are cutting people out of the overturned car, using the jaws of life.

I'm not suprised at all by this accident, at least not where it took place. There's a traffic light there, at the end of my block and no one ever pays attention to it. It's situated akwardly, around a curve and not quite at the corner. Maybe people don't expect to see it. Maybe they assume that because it's just a silly little side street that the red light means they can proceed anyhow, because who would be coming out of a side street, right? They put the light in because there is a church and a school there, and they needed a way to get people to slow down coming around that bend. It hasn't worked. It has failed so miserably that I go several blocks out of my way each morning so I don't have to make the left out of my street onto that main road. I don't want to deal with the speed demons and cell phone talkers who aren't paying attention to the red light ahead of them.

I leave my sister's house close to 10:00. I go to turn down the main street that will take me to my block and I see the flashing lights and the orange cones. Four hours later, the street is still blocked off. They are still trying to get these people out of the car. I backtrack and take another way home and for a few moments I stand in my driveway, looking down the block at the scene and wondering.

What makes a person feel so powerful, so immortal, that they think they can get away with anything? I try to put myself in the mind of a person that thinks it won't happen to me. I can get behind the wheel of this car even though I've been drinking all night. Won't happen to me. Or the person who thinks I can go 80 miles per hour down this local road, even though it twists and turns. Accidents happen to other people, not me. Hell, I won't even wear my seat belt! Those thoughts are not just idiotic, they are incredibly selfish.

There are people on the road who think they are invincible. They don't follow rules set up for their safety and the safety of others. Red lights and stop signs don't apply to them. Speed limits are meant to be doubled. No passing, no parking, no turn on red....all those signs have fine print that say except for you. It's written in special ink that only selfish bastards can see.

They put on their make-up and talk on their phones and read the stock quotes while driving. They don't wear seat belts and don't make their kids wear seat belts. They are young and old and male and female and they are careless and inconsiderate.

You are not invinicble. Just because you drive a huge car that resembles a tank does not mean you can drive like you are the only person on the road. You can still go flying through that windshield in an accident. I've seen it.

You are not immortal. You may be young and carefree and you may get a rush from weaving in and out of traffic and blowing by the people who are already going too fast. But being young and feeling like you have your whole life ahead of you does not preclude you from losing control of your car.

You are not immune. Look at drunk driving statistics. Look at your laws. You may think you are ok to drive after 13 beers, but you are not. You may think your vision and perception is ok, but it isn't. You may be that lucky person who gets behind the wheel bombed and makes it home alive. Or you may end up being a statistic. Hell, you may even end up causing someone else to be a statistic. Either way, you are a loser.

Not a week goes by where I don't pass an accident on the road. I'm tired of reading about dead teenagers and overturned cars and drunk drivers. Cars are lethal weapons. I'm pissed that I can't let my kids play on the front lawn without getting stressed out because people around here drive like they are in Death Race 2000.

I think I got off on a tangent here, and it's time for baseball practice so I can't end this with some kind of clinching statement. Just....be careful when you get in your car, ok?

brain spittle

brain spittle

Had a strange day yesterday. It started off with this depressing gray cloud hanging over my head, the result of no sleep the night before and the realization that my house is a complete disaster and I could not find the motivation to start doing something about it.

I met a friend for breakfast late in the morning and on my drive to the diner I passed a church. There was a huge, lighted billboard outside the church, with a sign that said "DO YOUR CHILDREN BELIEVE THE MIRACLE OF EASTER IS A FUZZY BUNNY?" with no further explanation nor any instructions for what to do if that is the case. I really wanted to call them and tell them that the miracle lies within the chocolate bunnies, not the fuzzy ones. But then I would have gone into my chocolate jesus thing, and I don't think they would have appreciated that. Not to be confused with Candy Coated Jesus.

We went out to dinner last night, hitting several restaurants that we couldn't get into and then we realized that everyone was celebrating St. Patrick's day. We decided to try an Italian restaurant, which probably wouldn't be filled with people drinking green beer and singing Danny Boy, but after they sat us practically on top of a couple that was one half Fran Drescher and the other half Mr. Chew With Your Mouth Open, we got up and left and went next door to the Chinese buffet. The food was really good, the tables were roomy and spaced well and can someone tell me why a Chinese buffet featured hot dogs wrapped in bacon?

We went to my sister's house after dinner so Justin could hook up their new, superfast, superpowerful computer that they do not deserve. These are people who thought they could transfer the data from one computer to the next using one single floppy disc. I am so buying Justin this shirt.

So I watched the news and glanced at the St. Patrick's Day parade stories and I wondered why they are so offended at the thought of gay people ruining their image by marching in the parade, but they have no problem pissing in public, acting like complete drunken morons, and generally making idiots out of themselves year after year. They really shouldn't march around holding up their American flags and claiming to be these wonderful God-Bless-Irish-Americans patriots if they mean only straight Irish Americans. They can cloak the parade in the shroud of 9/11, but it still comes out the same to me; a parade of exclusion and narrow mindedness.

But what do you expect from a country that allows things like this to go on? Progressive, my ass.

Ok then. Do me a favor? Go read this. Dr Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Blog. Thanks.

I do have other, less random things to say. After coffee.

March 16, 2002

story time: more bodily function fun

story time: more bodily function fun

Today marked day one of Exercise Plan V.75.2. I was going to make this one work.

The day was supposed to start off with a long morning walk. Not one of those power walks, where a person walks so awkwardly they look like a crazed puppet. No, just a regular, albeit brisk, walk through the neighborhood. Two miles tops.

5:30 a.m. and I head outside. I'm suprised by both the warmth in the air and that it's not as dark as I anticipated at this hour. The birds are chattering, the squirrels are fighting over something dead in the road and there's a light rain falling, which is fine with me. I walk.

This is so nice, I think to myself. Peaceful. Relaxing. I become excited at the thought of doing this ever morning. Getting in touch with nature and my thoughts and the world around me. I used to do this, many years ago. I try to remember why I stopped.

About a mile from home I remember. I have to pee. My sister isn't exaggerating when she says I should have a catheter installed. I can't go more than half an hour without having to pee and I've already had two cups of coffee and a quart of water. I am a mile from home at six in the morning, and I have to take a piss. Badly.

I stand on the corner and resist doing the pee-pee dance. I go over my options. There are none. It's not like I can knock on someone's door and ask to use the bathroom. There are no stores open yet. I stand there and contemplate my fate. I think the birds are laughing at me.

It starts to pour. Out of nowhere, the sky opens up and drops a few buckets of liquid on me. The sound of the heavy drops hitting the pavement makes my bladder long to be emptied. Drip. Drip. Drip. Bladder water torture.

I start to walk east, even though my house is west, because I am stuck on one of those winding streets with no outlet and now I have to go the opposite way and all around before I can head back home. The downpour thins out to a steady drizzle. . Drip. Drip. I curse the skies. I look to the sky and I swear that one mocking cloud is shaped like a toilet bowl. I cringe. My bladder screams. I walk.

I find that if I walk fast, it exacerbates the situation and the urge to pee right there on the sidewalk gets stronger. But if I slow down, I will never get home. I eye the huge hedges surrounding the house to my right. No. No. I cannot resort to that high school antic of peeing in someone's yard. I'm not a drunk teenager. I am a sane, sober adult. I. Will. Not. Pee. In. Someone's. Bush. Drip, drip, drip goes the rain. My resolve is shrinking.

The sun is starting to break through. Bright pinks and reds make their way through the line of clouds and behind the shades of sunrise is a brilliant blue sky. Vanish blue. The kind of blue that the toilet water in your mother's house is. That kind of blue. I cross my legs.

I go north one block and then turn west and I am headed in the right direction at least. I try not to think about toilet bowls. The wind kicks up and an empty Poland Springs water bottle flies by and hits me in the shin. Water. Liquid. Pee. I step in a small puddle and the sound of my foot hitting the water is amplified in my head. Someone's automatic sprinkler goes on. Water, water everywhere and not a toilet in sight.

I can finally see the side street I have to turn down. I'm close to home. My teeth are floating at this point. I remember how my mother used to say "I have to piss like a race horse" and I start wondering just how much a race horse pisses. This makes me walk faster, almost break out into a trot and my bladder jiggles and wiggles and begs for mercy. My eyes are watering.

Finally, my house is in sight. I chant out loud "please don't let Justin be in the bathroom, please don't let Justin be in the bathroom" and I sprint the last few steps, over the porch, down the stairs, into the house where, thankfully, my bathroom door stands wide open, waiting for me. I don't bother closing the door. I just pee, sighing orgasmically.

I go to the safety of my living room, cross "morning walk" off of my exercise list and start shopping for a treadmill.

tidbits 3.16

tidbits 3.16

It's all about me today.

Twice this week I have been immortalized in comic form by D. I am Buttercup. As if there were any doubt.

I dream of spacecheese and I gave Dave my snatch.

Decided to plan my August wedding based on this one. What are the chances I could get Gary Coleman to be my ring bearer?

I am number two for making farts on the net. World domination, here I come.

QOD awaits you.

March 15, 2002

moral dilemma

moral dilemma

So, if a person is standing in front of you talking to you about something really important and serious, and he has a wet booger hanging off of his nose by a slimy string, and the booger is dancing in his mustache as he talks, are you morally obligated to tell him about the booger and if so, what is the proper way to say it?




There. I feel better now. Don't you?

special effects

special effects

Day 4 of strange effects:
I am having these moments where I feel like I could either run a 50 mile marathon or drop on the floor and sleep for 50 hours. My adrenaline soars and drops like NASDAQ. I can't eat and I have cottonmouth I haven't experienced since 1980. My boss said I look feral.

And now I'm thinking this side effects issue can play to my benefit.

Wow, your hair looks like shit today!
It's the Paxil!

Do you realize you were doing 70 in a 40?
It's the Paxil!

Ohmygod! Are you listening to Kylie Minogue?
It's the Paxil!

You haven't completed a single piece of work today.
It's the Paxil!
Oh wait, no....that's Snood.

It's really the same excuse I used in high school when I was caught wearing gold lamť pants and dancing to Donna Summers.

It's the drugs, man!

suburbian life

suburbian life

What the hell is in the water around here, anyhow?

I'm going to start telling people I'm from New Jersey.

these kids today....


these kids today....

I came home from Natalie's 7th grade orientation last night (I know, it's only March - like I need to worry this far in advance) armed with a list of subjects that are available to her for 7th and 8th grade, things like Importance of Play and Reading; Egg Baby Project; Instruction in the use of a Digital Camera; Internet Research; College Applications; Hand Sewing; Design and Construction of a Dragster.

When did this happen? When did schools change from the basic home ec that covered everything from baking cookies to dying your hair? Now they're carrying around egg babies and learning how to play properly. Hopefully these classes will make them more prepared for the real world than I was. Everything I learned in junior high is only good for playing along with Jeopardy! every night.

So I am sitting there at this orientation, and I have this flashback of kindergarten orientation, and I am suddenly in one of those moods. You know...where did the time go, when did my baby grow up? I could swear that it was just two weeks ago that she was sleeping with a stuffed animal and playing with American Girl dolls and....wait. That was two weeks ago.

Something has happened to my daughter. My worst fears have been realized. She has become a.....teenager. It happened overnight, I swear. And it's all because of a boy. Michael. The bastard.

Flashback last month: She is asking me for scotch tape because she has to fix the Nscync posters that are in her locker. Then she is on the phone with her best friend and I hear a few words here and there......Princess Diaries...Justin Timberlake...neopets.....And I smile in my knowledge that my little girl is still so sweet and innoncent.

Cut to the present, two nights ago. She is on the phone with this Michael boy, who calls at least 40 times a day. This is what I hear: "And what is this crap with having a keyboard in our band? It's a punk band, what punk band has a keyboard? I mean, we were supposed to be a freaking rock band to start out with and now we have this Jingle Balls shit, like we're a freaking boy band!"

So now she's cursing and her favorite band is Linkin Park and she is going through her closet getting rid of the "baby clothes" that she picked out when school started and begging me let her put blue streaks in her hair.

She's boy crazy, but at least it one-boy crazy. I mean, she's 12. What could it possibly mean to have a boyfriend at 12? It's not like she' going to start making out with this guy, right? I talk to her about it and she rolls her eyes and looks at me as if I have just breached some invisible wall she had set up. I try real hard to have the talk with her and all I get is whatEVERs and her condescending assurance that they covered all this stuff in health. Of course, I will see to it that she is never alone with this boy, and she knows that, but she is playing the part of cool kid right now and we don't talk about the chaperone thing just yet. She just impatiently taps her fingers on the table and pretends to be interested in my "respect yourself" speech.

Could I have gotten more than two weeks notice that she was going to turn into a rebellious teenager? I was all prepared for geeky wallflower. I was not prepared for this. I had my "no date for the prom" and "It's ok to be a nerd" speeches written and memorized. Now I'm going to have to ask my own mother for copies of her "you can't go to that concert" and "you can't go out dressed like that" speeches. I am not equipped to deal with a cursing, wise-assed, sarcastic, punk of a teenager.


Not only have I become my mother, but Natalie has become me.

I had this coming, didn't I?

March 14, 2002

Is that a label youíre wearing?

brand new qod ---->

Is that a label youíre wearing?

I'm not one for slapping labels on people, but when it comes to politics, it's sometimes necessary. If not to identify yourself with one group, then to not identify yourself with one specific group. Problem is, I don't know what I am.

Friends and family call me liberal, but that's not entirely true. Yes, I have many liberal ideals. I certainly don't swing all the way to the left of liberalism. I think Noam Chomsky is a prick, Michael Moore has started to really piss me off and I don't subscribe to the church of Michael Stipe.

Ok, so I don't lean to the left, but I certainly don't lean to the right. Right wingers frighten me. Even the centrist right wingers frighten me. Compassionate Republicans, Conservative Democrats, whatever you want to call them, I don't buy what they are selling.

Am I in the center? I'm not sure. If I had to lean one way or the other I would be more likely to lean left, but I am also not very happy sitting in the middle. It's too much like being indecisive or playing both sides of the field.

Maybe there is a list of questions somewhere, where I can fill in the little boxes my answer gets handed to me on a neat little punch card saying : Congratulations! You are Liberpublicrat!

I don't really need a label myself, but people ask me all the time. I don't know what to tell them. They want to know, do I support the war or am I peacenick? Do I support our government or am I one of them? How do I feel about women's rights and gay rights and religion in the classroom and affirmative action and school vouchers and the death penalty? And when I answer and I feel one way about one thing and another way about something else, they will invariably say "Oh but I thought you were a (insert label here) and that doesn't really go with their ideals! You throw people off like this. I find that a lot of people need to think along straight lines, in black and white. Either or. If then. I don't think like that. So what does that make me?

I can declare myself Independent, which can mean so many things and mean nothing at all. When you say you are independent, the straight liners will look at you like you have said nothing. They will wait for a different answer. "Independent? But which way? Left or right?" And, sadly, a lot of people assume there are only two ways you can lable yourself in politics. You are either a Democrat or a Republican, left, right or center be damned, and whatever you choose you will subscribe to their ways and their thinking and their ideals. You will vote party line, from President of the United States on down the to PTA treasurer.

People seem very concerned with politics now. They want to feel you out. Make sure you are on the right side. Because if you are not on the right side.....well, you know the punch line by now. Yep, the terrorists win.

So I'm sitting here, a woman without a political label. It's sort of like having an X branded on your forehead. Little kids look at you and point and say "Oh, there's the lady who isn't a democrat or a republican and she's not even a liberal or leftist or a right winger!" And their mothers pull them out of your path and scold them for getting too close to you and say things like "See what happens when you are allowed to think for yourself? That's why we took all those horrid books out of the house!" And the kid smiles and shows off his junior republican pin.....eh, tangent.

I'm frustrated with people in general. I'm frustrated with people who assume that because I speak out against some of our nation's policies that I should be put to death. I am tired of being questioned about my party, my affiliation, my religion (or lack of it), my ideology.

I don't have a label. I can't pigeonhole myself into one specific category. When you ask me what I am, I can only tell you what I believe and feel, not what category those things fall under. And if your only purpose in asking me what label I am wearing is to then give me a hundred and one reasons why that makes me less of a person in your eyes, then you can just kiss my almost liberal ass.

Helpful hint of the day

Helpful hint of the day:

When taking a new medication, do not spend three hours on the internet looking up adverse side effects.

Apparently, I am going to break out in hives while shooting my family after realizing that I no longer want sex.

tidbits: 3.14

tidbits: 3.14

Bad headache and a bit of a queasy stomach today. Posting may be sporadic.

New and very interesting QOD, courtesy of John. We are remaking Mount Rushmore today.

Because I believe that one should always spread oneself as thin as possible, you can now find me over at soul illustrations and procrastiblog, as well as bad sam:next gen.

Two sites of the day: today and the day after that and booklend. I found today through an email from wKen. What an absolutely beautiful site. The artwork is all painted by the author, who writes as well as she draws.
Booklend is formerly Mark Anderson's Lending Library. He has an enormous collection of books that he wants to share with you. I have used his services before (literally speaking), and today I borrowed Fifth Business by Robertson Davies.

Should you be in need of blogging material for today, I suggest you take Nancy's idea and run with it. She blogged her entire browsing history for one day. I'm going to try that this weekend. It will read something like: porn.comics.porn.comics.espn.porn.comics. But it will be fun, anyhow.

And just so you know, and can go about your day with a clear head, George is no longer concerned with Osama Bin Laden. Maybe he has ADD, and he just couldn't focus long enough to complete the task. He was distracted by the thoughts of aiming nukes at Iraq.

Thanks to my sister Lisa for this companion piece for yesterday's post:

Lisa is talking to a co-worker we shall call N., a 43 year old woman.

N: Lisa, y'all feelin down? Y'all need some cheering up?
L: Nah, I'm ok, just busy.
N: You sure? Cause I was feelin' down the other day and, girl, the funniest thing happened. You know how I got a big butt, right? Well, the other day I pooted! That's right! I pooted!
L:WHAT?? You what?
N:Yeah! And cuz my butt's so big, and the poot had a lot of skin to go by, it made the loudest noise! And I was at my mom's house and I was tellin her bout it. and I said "Mommy! I was feelin down but I feel so much better cause I just gave myself a Standing Ovation!"

(Lisa runs the other way at this point)

The next day, N stops by her office again.

N:Hey girl! How you today?
L: I'm ok,. just busy.
N: Aww, maybe you need a standing ovation?
N: Well, just maybe one that don't stink, ok?

True stories. They don't get better than that.

March 13, 2002

story time: a (true )fart story

story time: a (true )fart story

I'm in the public bathroom at the credit union. There's a woman in the stall next to me and she's making some really strange noises. Now, I have farts on my mind lately, because I am reading Stephen King's Dreamcatcher and there's a whole lot about farting in this book so far. Evil farting, borne of aliens and anal probes. And the sound coming from the stall next to me sounds much like I imagined the characters in the book would sound.

She's got expensive leather shoes on and stockings with a seam running up the back. Her purse is on the floor, some designer logo I don't recognize attached to it. She's a sharp-dressed, well-off woman, I can tell that much. And she's farting up a storm.

I sit there trying to think of how to react. Because I really have to react, out of courtesy. I mean, she knows I'm in there, right? So she's probably pretty embarassed. She's going to wait for me to leave the stall, wash my hands and exit out of the bathroom before she dares to even stand up. I feel bad for her. I want to make her feel less embarassed.

So I think, ok....I can do one of two things. I can hightail it out of there, so she doesn't have to face me. But what if she heads over to the food court right behind me and I recognize those Italian shoes and she recognizes my platform heels and she turns red with shame as she realizes I am telling everyone on the food line about the flatulent woman in the high heeled shoes I just encountered? The other thing I can do is fart. If I let one out, she'll feel less alone in her shame, maybe we will both giggle a little, come out and wash our hands and burst into full fledged laughter and walk to the food court together, making fart noises with our hands.

Unfortunately for her, I am not a male, nor have I had any beer recently, so I can't fart on demand. I contemplate faking one, but I think with the music her flatulence makes, she would recognize a fake one right away. Then she would think I was making fun of her.

She lets out another, a long, windy fart that is probably vibrating the toilet seat. She moans and gasps with what I assume is relief. And I do the only thing I can. I laugh. I can't help it. I am suddenly overcome with the sense of humor of a 9 year old boy and I giggle and practically snort. I know she hears me because she responds by letting out another one, with gusto. I opt for the quick getaway at that point because it is really starting to reek in there.

I meet my sister in the food court, watching the feet of all the expensive looking women that stroll in, keeping an eye out for those Italian shoes. She never materializes, but if she did, I just wanted to tell her that she might want to skip the bean soup.

I know it's not Thursday, thank you.

I know it's not Thursday, thank you.

Did you ever really look into someone's eyes? I mean, look deep into them as if they were the ocean and you were trying to see the bottom. I look into the eyes of strangers. When the old, toothless man in the parking lot approaches me with outstretched hands and asks for a dime or a cigarette or snack, I look into his eyes. I try to see what he sees, to know what he knows. Our eyes meet and latch on and for a second I can see through him and into him and it really doesn't take much to know that he is a sad man, but in those eyes, the sadness is much deeper. It's a resignation. I give him a dollar because that is all I have stuffed into my coat pocket and he mumbles a toothless thanks and walks away.

I think about his eyes later. I think about the stories that lay behind those eyes and the thoughts that probably plague him as he sleeps each night on a bed made of sidewalk and newspaper.

When I go to sleep that night in my comfortable bed with two blankets and four pillows and arms wrapped around me, it's his eyes I see. I dream that his eyes are huge like a planet and they dance above my head, mingling with stars and comets. There is no face, no toothless, thankful man. Just his eyes.

I am balancing myself on top of one of his eyes, and the eye keeps spinning like ball under my feet. I am running in place, the eye moving ever faster underneath me, the iris coming under my feet every few seconds. I look down, wanting to stare into it and find out its secrets and its stories but I lose my balance and go flying off into space, doing an interstellar gymnastics routine of tumbles and flips and handstands. I land on the ground, and even though I can't see that's it's the ground because of the darkness, I know the familiar feel of concrete and newspapers. I lay there, covered in the New York Daily News and the pebbles come loose from the sidewalk and scrape my hand as I try to sleep. I look up at the sky and there are the eyes, and the eyes have gained mouths and they are laughing. Laughing at me and my bed and laughing most of all at my desire to know what is inside them.

I lay on the sidewalk, cold and hungry and wanting those eyes to stop looking at me. To stop laughing at me. I close my own eyes, try and sleep but a shadow crosses over me. I look up and see the man, the toothless, thankful man, and he has no eyes. His sockets lay cold and bare and he takes my hands and holds my fingers up to the empty holes and nods his head. I stand up and pull the eyes out of the sky and put them back in the sockets from where they came. He mumbles a toothless thanks and walks away.

(this dream and others like it now playing at soul illustrations)

Filler Bunny 101

Filler Bunny 101

It's a comic about a bunny. A poor, poor bunny. Cute bunny. OOOK. Filler! Bunny! Butt monkey! OOOK!

(filler bunny is the property of the genius Jhonen Vasquez & Slave Labor Graphics)

March 12, 2002

Worth the wait

Worth the wait posted by Dave

Because she's worth it



I saw the doctor. He gave me Paxil. We'll see what happens.

Thanks to everyone who gave me invaluable advice and kind words and made me realize that I am not this weirdo I perceived myself to be. Well, either that or you're all a bunch of weirdos, too.

I love you guys. Thanks for sticking around. I'll be back Thursday morning.

Wait...just this dream...and then I'm done, ok?

Wait...just this dream...and then I'm done, ok?

They had invented this tube. They called it the miracle tube even though it didn't perform miracles, but it told you if you would need one. It was a long, white upright tube, big enough for a large human being. You stepped into the tube, it whirred and clicked and spinned, and then you came out. It would then print out a chart detailing every single that was wrong with your or could possibly go wrong with you.

I go in the tube, come out all spun around, and wait for the doctor to read my chart to me. He stands there pensively in his white coat, clicking his number two pencil on the clipboard that holds my fate.

"You have an 80% chance of developing breast cancer." He doesn't look at me, just keeps reading.

"You have a 30% chance of having a heart attack." Long pause.

"You have 90% of getting an ulcer" Longer pause.

"And..." He stops to let out a low whistle here and I suck in my breath in anticipation.

"And 80% of your family uses a Microsoft OS."

March 11, 2002

after these messages, we'll be right back

after these messages, we'll be right back

Hope you don't mind. I'm going to take a day or two to myself.

I'll be back Wednesday morning. Maybe Thursday. Maybe sooner if something really entertaining happens. You know I never do what I say I'm gonna do.

This pretty much defines how I feel right now.

Go here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

Oh, and he's back. And crabby, so to speak.

Note to Phineas: you are no longer allowed to have candles. It's in writing, so you can't dispute it.

Now, I better check myself before I wreck myself.

late notice

late notice

I am in one of those moods when I have nothing to say which usually ends up with me having way too much to say. You know...saying nothing in so many words. I think I'll actually let my mind calm down before I post anything today. Besides, I overslept because I couldn't wake up from a dream where my anxiety manifested itself in the form of all kinds of monsters and I think John Ashcroft was chasing me through a supermarket while singing show tunes. Anyhow.

So while I take the morning to shake my dreams out and make the attempt to get to work on time, I need two things from you.

One, go participate in the new QOD. Come on, make me smile.

And two, if anyone watched the 9/11 special on CBS last night, I would really like to know what you thought of it and how you reacted to it.

Have the most pleasant Monday possible. That is possible, isn't it?

March 10, 2002

high anxiety

high anxiety

I've had six anxiety attacks today. They're probably the worst attacks I have had in a long time. I barely get them at all anymore, but the last two days have been full of them. It's gotten to the point where the thought of having one brings one on, and then when it starts, I get that "oh my god i'm dying" feeling, I think I'm having a heart attack or my throat is closing up or my lungs aren't working and that of course makes the anxiety worse which makes the whole thing actually physical instead of just mental.

I don't know why they have returned with such a vengeance. I don't know what has been different the last two days, what is present in my life that is causing my brain such distress. I've been reading and flipping channels all day just to keep my mind occupied. I'm exhausted from the latest phase of insomnia yet I'm afraid to try to sleep because I am tired of the anxiety surfacing in my dreams, and of waking up gasping for air. I'm pretty much doomed any way you look at it.

It may be time to listen to what I've been told, to heed the advice of my doctor and look into some anxiety medication. I've put it off this long because I am afraid it will lessen me somehow. I'm afraid that once I take it I will no longer be me. I don't want that. But I don't want this, either.

If I knew what was causing the stress I could eliminate it. If I knew what has made the last two days so overwhelming for my mind that it's making me nearly crazy, I would eliminate it. For the first time, I cannot put my finger on what is causing my attacks. Maybe it is a combination of a lot of little things that when held up alone look like tiny little specks, but when all rolled up together make a giant ball of fret. Maybe I'm worrying about worrying.

I wish I had shut-down mode. I wish I could just turn off the part of my brain that thinks beyond thinking; the part that deals with the what-ifs and why-nots and how-comes, the part that takes every tiny rip in the fabric of the entire universe and makes it my problem. I wish I could sleep. I wish I had answers for myself.

Yea, I'm done now. Everyone playing their violins for me?


MazelTov! by Dave

Normally we're not out and about before lunchtime on a Sunday, but today we were heading out to Spitalfields market (you may have heard of it in From Hell) which we had previously been to with Jessica.

On our way along the street, home to three seperate Christian churches (regular, diet and sugar-free) a Winnebago drove past with the slogans "Insta Mitzvah for all!" plastered on all four sides (possibly on the roof as well)

Hmm, I mused to myself, a travelling van for teenage boys to celebrate their bar mitzvahs in. Cool. No, no, Pix cleared me up on that one. Its more likely a travelling passion wagon for Jewish boys to become men in! Probably a couple of nice clean jewish girls inside with tzitzit tassles glued onto their nipples, a menorah in the corner providing the candle-lit atmosphere...

And then it occured to me that... girls have Mitzvahs as well, Bat Mitzvahs. So there could be a couple of strapping young jewish guys in there, cut, obviously, wearing sequined yarmulkes and g-strings getting it on under the sheets.

I hope that winnebago had good suspension.

Barbeque this!

Barbeque this! posted by Dave

Last night Pix and I went to TGI Fridays, an American-themed restaurant in Leicester Square here in London. Mmmm, lions, tigers and potato-skins with bacon-bits.

Everybody knows where buffalo wings come from. But do you realise what chicken fingers really are?

playing the part of cynical bastard...

playing the part of cynical bastard...

I'm feeling icky and out of sorts today and I think I am going to spend the day on the couch, catching up on reading and bad movies.

Dave has been having trouble with his server, and Acerbia seems to be down for the count today, so I'm letting him have at my space here today. He's way smarter and much more acerbic than me, so enjoy.

Feel free to smack him around in the comments the way you do me, ok?

And go post on QOD or I'll kick your ass.

it's just me...

it's just me...

A few days ago I mentioned the that 9/11 special that CBS will be showing tonight. I pointed to a post I wrote about it previously. Nancy also wrote something about it, linking to my post.

I've been innundanted with email since. Some good, some bad, which is par for the course.

One thing needs to be clarified. The tape I saw was an unedited version of what will be shown tonight. Maybe what I saw will not be what you will see tonight. Perhaps it will be done tastefully, and they will take out some of the more graphic images and sounds.

Either way, I still question the decision to broadcast it. I do not see the purpose. I do not see the reason. What will be served by showing this, just six months after? It certainly is not going to help people get over what happened. More likely, it will just cause healing wounds to open up wide again.

Yes, I know. You don't have to watch it. Nobody is forcing anyone to sit in front of the television and stare at the screen. I just want to know why anyone thinks this is a good idea. Please, I am being honest here. Tell me. Tell me why you think this is an appropriate thing to do, to show the faces of death waiting to happen. I want to know.

It's still fresh. How fresh is it? My father went to a fireman's funeral yesterday. Six months later, there are still victims being buried. It's still new and it's still raw and it is, for some of us at least, just too soon.

I'm just saying...I was just trying to give a forewarning. It's not all this patriotic, make you appreciate life, tribute to heroes they are making it out to be. Maybe I am bring thin-skinned about it. Maybe I am the only one who doesn't want to see it. Maybe it will do more harm than good for some people, and then again, maybe it will do more good than harm for others. I am only telling you what I saw and what I felt and I sincerely hope they did a fantastic editing job on this thing and it doesn't leave you feeling as drained, hopeless and sad as it left me.

tidbits 3.10

tidbits 3.10

Stop, collaborate and listen, QOD is back with a brand new edition! I would apologize for quoting Vanilla Ice, but the theme of this week's QOD is "Guilty Pleasures" so I won't. Go on over there and 'fess up.

I'm thinking we should change the name of our country. United States of America just doesn't get the picture across anymore. We need something that speaks of of the power, the might, the huge balls of our government. Like...umm.....The United States of Arrogant Bastards? Yea, that has a nice ring to it. Anyhow, we know what the real axis of evil is.

Maybe we could just have all the leaders sit down for a nice game of Painstation. Winner takes all.

Does anyone mind if I spork this person to death?

Fact about me you didn't want to know (#45 in a series): If there were an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records for "most times peeing in one day" I would be the undisputed champ.

Site of the day: artcoup. Proof that photography is storytelling without the words.


March 09, 2002

story time3: dream fiction

story evolved from a dream

They're letting us go back home.

It's been two months.

We stand still on the sidewalk, not really sure what to do. We face the house, face everything we left there and our feet are poised to go left, right, left, right, taking us to the front door, but we can't. I look at my neighbors to the left and my neighbors to the right, and we are all standing there, statues in a wicked game of freeze tag. It's as if we are waiting for a starting gun to signal us to go. Move. Walk. Enter.

The short, squat man who looks like the Monopoly guy but without the top hat or tux, is urging us to go already, get on with it. They want to push us back in there already, when the pain is so fresh and the wounds haven't even scabbed over yet, they are still red and raw and bleeding, and there's pus coming out of them.

I feel sick, my stomach lurching and turning and doing a dance I didn't request. I want to go. I don't want to go. I pick up my foot, I put it down. I hold Merilee's hand, and I hope that she urges me on, but she is standing there, coma-like, blank look and vacant stare and all those cliches used to desrcibe someone that is dead but alive.

I glance over to the right and my neighbors are still there, waiting like us. They are the quintessential American Dynamo family. Perky mom and Handy-Dandy Dad and the blonde-haired, blue-eyed children. Todd is all white teeth and strong arms and the star of his baseball team and Britney is giggles and smiles and long legs that propel her across the lawn during the spring and summer, backflipping and tumbling and dreaming of the Olympics. In a fit of cosmic Americana, they went and got a dog and the dog is named -what else- Spot and he frolics on the lawn and never barks at the mailman. They are nice and friendly, maybe too friendly, in that Ned Flanders "hididily ho neighbor!" kind of way, and Merilee used to swear that there was some kind of evil hidden under the trays of brownies and ripe vine tomatoes they would bring over.

Then there's the couple on the left, Jerry and Connor, the gay couple and their adopted son Ben. They are married. Oh, they are not married in the eyes of the state or in the eyes of god, but they are in the eyes of their neighbors, even the Aryan looking Republican neighbors on my right, and everyone bought them presents and baked and coordinated babysitting schedules when they adopted Ben.

That's when things were right. Before we all stood here like zombies, afraid to go in our own homes. Before, when Britney had two legs instead of one and when Todd was able to talk, and it occurs to me, looking at Britney's stub of a right leg, that baby Ben is only a year old and he will never remember any of what happened. He will only know what is told to him later, in different voices by different people and the story will grow and shrink depending on who is telling it, and he will only have known Britney as having one leg. He will not remember her left leg or her fantastic tumbling skills.

I realize I have to be the first to walk. No one else will do it. I take a step, and it's like the starting signal everyone was waiting for. We all walk. The blonde family and the gay family and the broken family two houses down and the elderly couple across the way and the midwestern family that just moved in on the corner. We all walk. The monopoly man watches us, his staff watches us, the newspaper reporters and cameramen watch us. Our backs are to them. We see only our doors.

Our house is a large, center-hall Colonial, and when you open the door you can see straight through to the back. A friend told us when we bought this house that we should hire someone to move the door because it was bad feng-shui. We didn't know what feng-shui was and he told us and we laughed, but he was not laughing with us. He said our doors should not be lined up because Good Luck would come in the front door and go right out the back instead of hanging around and getting comfortable. It would just come in and whoosh! leave right away. We didn't listen to him, didn't hire anyone for the expensive and intrusive job of moving our back door, and months later we were a bit sorry.

Things happened soon after. Merilee lost her job and then Mr. Cowl across the street landed his dream job the next day. Merilee had a miscarriage - we didn't tell anyone- and the next day the news about Baby Ben was announced. Merilee's mother's dog was hit by a car and killed and the next day the blonde family next door brought Spot home from the animal shelter. We sat in the living room one night, talking about our run of bad luck and neither of us said it but we knew. It was the feng shui. Not only did Good Luck come and go so fast that we never knew it was there, but it ran straight to our neighbor's when it left our house. Its' arch enemy, Bad Luck, must have been milling around the neighborhood, too, following Good Luck around town and through center hall colonial houses, except that where Good Luck went out, Bad Luck decided to sit on the couch and stay awhile. We didn't move the door even then, and maybe we should have, but we shut it and bolted it and put black construction paper over the four small windows in the door and never opened it again. We were going on the assumption that if Good Luck decided to make a repeat appearance, it wouldn't be able to escape.

It was three nights later that we were sitting in the living room, doing crossword puzzles and contemplating another chance at having a child, when we heard the front screen door slam. We thought perhaps the blonde mother had come over with a tray of brownies or fresh cukes from the garden and we got up to greet her like proper neighbors should. But there was no one there. The wind, we surmised, had opened and closed the screen door, which never worked properly. Or....Merilee's eyes said it all. Good Luck had come back for another go! Merilee slammed the wooden door shut and slid the lock into place. Captured! We had captured Good Luck in our very own house! We ran around and made sure all the windows were closed and there was no way that luck would escape us this time. When we were sure the house was fully sealed, we met back in the living room. We waited. We weren't sure how long it would take for the luck to start working. Maybe the phone would ring with a job offer. Maybe Ed McMahon would finally show up at our doorstep with a million dollars. Maybe, just maybe, if we had sex right there and then, with Good Luck swirling all around us, Merilee would get pregnant and we would have our perfect dream child, a child that would rival anything Todd or Britney or Ben could ever amount to.

So we did it. We did it right there, on the living room floor, which for us was a major digression from our sexual routine. We were straight and narrow. Man on top. Fuck, hold, come, sleep. Not this time. This time I fucked her until she screamed at me to stop and when I came inside her I was sure that we had just made the finest baby in the world, because Good Luck was hanging out in our house, watching us in our fit of misguided passion.

Merilee felt sick after, and I thought it was because I treated her so roughly and I tried to soothe her but she just cried face down on the bed and wouldn't even look at me. When I got a terrible stomach cramp as I tried to console her, and spent the next two hours puking all over the bathroom floor, I knew something was wrong. I didn't have to look out the window to know that it was wrong all over. I just knew. But I looked anyhow. Curiosity. Fear.

We hadn't trapped Good Luck in our house, after all. It was Bad Luck and it wasn't even bad at that. It was Horrible Luck. Worst Luck Ever. Evil twin of Bad Ass Luck. It came into our house and took hold of every ounce of energy it could find and when we started fucking, that energy became twofold and then threefold and kept growing until Bad Luck had grown to incredible proportions and it flew out the chimney (we had forgotten to close the flue) and whipped its way around the neighborhood.

Our street became dark like winter midnight and cold as that, too. I heard shutters banging and people wailing and babies crying and dog barking. Twigs were snapped off trees and one twig broke free from its limb and and flew straight at Spot and took his eye right out. Lights flashed inside houses and then lightning flashed outside the houses and there was thunder that for a moment drowned out the screams of my neighbors. At some point we all ran from our houses, in pajamas or work clothes or naked, whatever we were at the moment, we ran from our doors to the middle of the street where we watched a green cloud of noxious smelling gas rise from the sewers. It engulfed our houses and we cringed and cried while we watched.

They had declared it was some type of gas leak and maybe there was an explosion, which would explain the missing limbs and the brain damage and the dead animals. The thing is, we didn't really want it explained. It was just easier to believe the lies and half truths. The monopoly man came around that night, and arranged for us all to go somewhere while they did tests on the air and the water and cleaned up what they could.

Two months later and they're letting us back in. Our houses are clean. The smell is gone. It looks like the same neighborhood it was before I fucked Merilee on the living room floor, before the door banged and Bad Luck came to visit. I'm going to take Merilee's arm, lead her into the house, fix her up on the couch with a pillow and blanket and reach for the phone. Someone is going to have to move that back door.

would you name your band fantabulosa?

would you name your band fantabulosa?

Natalie is in a band. She is 12 years old and in a punk band, even though she doesn't know what punk is and assumes that Less Than Jake is somehow punky. She plays the drums, and her extent of drumming experience comes from the school band, where she has played variations on Sousa themes for a few years.

They have a guitar player, who has never played guitar before, and I assured Natalie that this really doesn't matter in a punk band. I gave her a few Ramones cds to bring to band practice and told her they should listen to them, learn the four chords they hear, and they will never need to know anything else. She came home and asked me for a leather jacket and if she could change her name to Dee Dee.

So she called me today from another session of band practice, which seems to consists mostly of bickering, arguing and drumstick throwing, all necessary quotients to the road to rock and roll stardom. Soon they will progress to throwing television sets out the windows of hotel rooms.

She says they need a name for their band and her friends insist that I am the appropriate person to ask. Because why? Because we have a lot of cds. That only qualifies me to know existing band names, I tell her. She begs for some assistance. I am on the computer at the moment, staring at my weblog. I look at my links list.

"What? What the hell is a spacecheese?" She has taken to saying what the hell now and I asked her if she thinks that sounds nice coming out of her mouth.
"Homer says it all the time," she says.
"Homer drinks beer for breakfast, I tell her. "Homer sleeps in church and chews with his mouth open."
"Well you say what the hell all the time. "
"I am your mother, not your role model."

So we go through more band name suggestions/weblogs.
Billybunny? No. The Gigglechicks? Fantabulosa? No. No. I run down the list. I skip over Jockohomo and Bobupndown and Six Different Ways. Swank and Sore Eyes and Mighty Geek are vetoed. She pauses at Digital Nap and asks around and I hear a collective "No!" coming from the rest of the band. I exhaust my list and I realize that weblog titles do not make good band names. Plus, I would have to end up paying royalties to one of you through your paypal account and I don't really want to be bothered with that. I hang up, leaving her frustrated and a bit bewildered at my band name choices.

She calls me an hour later. They have found a name. I brace myself for something offensive or vulgar or just inane enough to cause me to stifle a laugh.

"Drop Shadows." She says.
Drop Shadows...drop shadows....drop....Oh. I get it. They use drop shadow a lot when making posters in schools. Come on, you know...drop shadow!

I do a "mmhmm, that's a fine name, Natalie," which is my way of saying no comment without having to say no comment. She knows this.
"God, mom! Did you really want us to name a band spacecheese? Where the hell do you get these things from anyhow? Geeeeez." She hangs up on me. I am doomed to a whole summer of hearing about Drop Shadow, the band.

She didn't even let me get to Twistypants.

blood, guts and driver's ed

blood, guts and driver's ed

I took driver's ed in 1979, the beginning of my senior year in high school. The class met two days a week after school, one day for driving and one day for classroom lecture.

The classroom lecture consisted mostly of us watching films while the instructor, Mr D. (who was also our history teacher) used his pointer to draw attention to the finer points of the film. He banged the screen with that wooden stick enough that he there were several holes in it by the end of the semester. He took his driving seriously. Mr. D was all about the dangers that lurked on the roadways. Apparently, death and mayhem were waiting to greet us at every turn.

The first film we saw that year would later be referred to as "The Box of Death." It was animated, as most of the gore-fest driver's ed films were, and starred a crudely drawn teenager driving a sports car. The teen is speeding down a residential street when he approaches a box in the middle of the road. Just a big, white cardboard box sitting in the middle of a side street. A bubble pops up above the teen's head, cartoon style, and in it we see the teen is thinking of his two choices in the situation: drive around the box (good choice) or drive over the box (bad choice). Cheesy music plays. Tension abounds. The teen guns the engine and goes for it.

At this point Mr. D. stops the film.
"What do you think is going to happen here, class?"
"Uhh...hes going to hit the box..."
"YES!" Pointer smacks screen. "He is going to hit the box! Because he has MADE THE WRONG CHOICE!" Each word brings a smack of the pointer. The flimsly screen sways. "Would you like to see what happens? Are you ready to see where a bad choice can lead you?" We begin to think he is reading from the same script as the police officer who came to warn us, a bit late, about drugs.
Those of us who aren't already asleep encourage him to play the rest of the film.

Our speeding teenager who made the wrong choice continues down the road, hell bent on running down that mysterious box. He hits it with a loud thud, and the box goes flying in the air. It lands on the sidewalk. The teen gets out of the car and stand there with a Home Alone look of surprise on his face. He walks to the box, where it rests upside down and battered, and carefully lifts it up. I don't know what we expected to see. Garbage or soda cans or even homeless kitties. But, no...we see an arm. A small child's cartoon arm sticking out of the box, looking somewhat bruised and bloody.

Instead of recoiling in horror and shame, we burst out laughing.

"Is there something funny about a dead child?" Mr. D is not happy with us.
We giggle uncontrollably. A kid was the last thing we expected to be in the box. Why? Because it's incredibly absurd. Someone comments that if a kid was hiding in a cardboard box in the middle of the road, he sort of deserves to be hit by a car. Mr. D. threatens us all with driver's ed failure. Then he lectures on The Box.

"That box could be filled with anything. Leaves, children, bricks!" We are rolling on the floor now. We have no idea what box he is talking about. For as long as all of us have lived on this earth, none of us have ever come across a cardboard box, empty or filled with small children, in the middle of the road. We make jokes about brick-filled boxes. We make bad puns revolving around kids named Jack (jack-in-the-box...get it?). Mr. D. realizes lecturing on The Box is useless. He warns us that the films we will see in the coming weeks will make The Box look like a comic book.

We spend the subsequent lecture days in a dark classroom, projector rolling and Mr. D. banging the pointer around. We see school buses imploding. Cars going off cliffs. Rag doll bodies being thrown through car windshields. Corpses, brains, body parts and crying teenagers, all ketchup and fake goo and Jamie Lee Curtis caliber screaming, set to a 70's soundtrack that sounds as if it were ripped from a porn film. They had titles like "Death Never Takes a Holiday" and "Mechanized Death" and "Blood on the Highway" and we began to look forward to these films the way we looked forward to watching horror movies at Mike's house on Friday nights.

These films became the Reefer Madness of driving culture. Instead of scaring us as they were intended to do, they served as pure entertainment. There were kids who weren't even taking driver's ed and would sneak into our classroom just to see "When Death Comes Driving."

We were sad when the semester ended and our car crash gorefest was over. We all passed Mr. D.'s class with flying colors, most likely because didn't want to see us in his classroom again the next semester. We were the kids who laughed at death.

I'm sure Mr. D. would be happy to know that all these years later, I still think of him every time I run down a box in the road.

March 08, 2002



I'm off for a night of booze, strip joints and ass kicking, who wants in?

Wait, that's not me. I'm going to be making hot chocolate and watching Atlantis. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow?

Meanwhile, I leave you with tonight's entertainment: Christopher Walken reciting The Raven.

No charge. Just lookin' out for your Friday.

fly the friendly skies

Fly the friendly skies

There was a hostage situation at a Staples here this week, and that in and of itself was no big deal. Your basic robbery gone awry.

However. Two of the would-be robbers are security guards at Kennedy Airport.

I'll leave the commentary up to you.

color coded for your safety

color coded for your safety

Upgraded threat alert system expected soon. And...you ready for this? It's going to be color coded! So not only will you be alerted to imminent terrorist attacks but you can color coordinate your outfit to match!

And I know you, you're the impatient type. You're also worried. You want this sytem in place now. It gets confusing with all these unclear warnings every other week. Don't you worry. I'm here to help. You need not bother waiting for the Office of Homeland Security to unveil their new plan. I obtained some highly classified secret documents this morning, and I will unveil the plan for you.

Level 1: Green Alert: "There is a threat of imminent terrorists attacks. We do not know where or when or how or who, we just know that it's been two weeks since we last announced something so we thought we would keep you on your toes." Instructions: Fix up those "wanted: dead or alive" posters hanging on your bulletin boards at work. They're looking shabby.

Level 2: Blue Alert: "Ok, we think there is an imminent terrorist attack coming. We can pinpoint it down to a major structure someone in the United States, possibly a tall building or a crowded sports stadium. It may happen some time in the next two months." Instructions: Go about your every day business as if we weren't making announcements that are causing you anxiety. Have a drink with dinner tonight. Put a new flag outside your front door. Sing God Bless America. Relax.

Level 3: Red Alert: "We have good word from a really reliable source that we can't name that an attack is imminent. It may happen this week, or maybe next week. But it's gonna be big. It will be a bridge or tunnel or airport or maybe a school or shopping mall and it will be in the midwest or possibly the south with a 20% chance it will be in the Northeast. If not, then it will be California. But it's coming. I swear, they would not make this up. They have nukes!" Instructions: Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for strange people. Report directly to Joel Schumacher if you see anything strange, because he will know what to do. Say the pledge three times every day for good luck. Buy canned goods. Act normal, everyone!

Level 4: Yellow Alert: "Jesus Christ, did you see that? How did we not know this was coming? We will give you further reports from the safety of our underground bunker." Instructions: You're on your own, kids.

So now you don't have to wait for the official announcement. I thought the colors were a nice touch.

(Once again, this post has been brought to you by Insomnia)

tidbits 3.08

tidbits 3.08

Hey, look who's in the news! Yep. It's that wacky, fun loving gal who brought a dog to a funeral! And now she's a rich wacky gal. And I'm thinking that maybe I should have befriended her after all. 88 million dollars could sure go a long way towards making me feel forgiving about her being a complete jackass.

I don't know what to make of this song. That's some hokey lyrics there, fella. So do you think this is hearfelt music or is Mr. Jackson just aiming to have the anthem for September 11th? It's a cigarette lighter song in the making. Hmm.... what's that sound? Is that the sound of patriotism? Pride? Overwhelming grief...oh...it's the sound of cash registers ringing!

And speaking of September 11th and cashing in, I am going to implore you once again to not watch CBS's grab at ratings this Sunday. My reasons have already been stated. Just wanted to remind you.

New in the sidebar: twistypants, redcricket and benway. Aortal pick o' the day: pirated sites.

I am hereby opening up the QOD to the general public. That means you, silly. For the next two weeks, reader requested questions only. I'm tired of thinking. Please leave suggestions in the comments below or email me. If your question is used, you will receive fame, fortune and wild monkey sex.

Sign of the impending apocalypse: Winger, Poison and Cinderella are all touring again. What, no Night Ranger?

March 07, 2002

oscar! oscar!

high-brow film making at its finest

it's ok to be intrigued by this, right?

handy dandy mood cycle chart

The handy dandy chart of my cycle

It has been brought to my attention that I am moody. Particularly around this time of the month. I have therefore compiled a handy chart of my mood swings and accompanying factors in order to make your visit here more enjoyable one, and so you can better understand my needs, desires and unpredictable behavior. I have covered only the actual days of my cycle and not the days that are PreMS or PostMs . That's a course that can never be charted.

Day -1
Emotional symptoms: Lethargy, listlessness, apathy, complete and utter sadness that covers my soul with a black canvas.
Typical word usage: Whatever. I don't care. Please kill me now. Do you have any pot?
Physical symptoms: Fat. Bloated. Blotchy. Occasionally a zit appears.
Food: Salt. Chips, pretzels, salt straight from the shaker.
Soundtrack: Nine Inch Nails/Downward Spiral.

Day 2:
Emotional Symptoms: anti-social, jumping out of skin, aggressive, yet still happy
Physical Symptoms: 3 words: Bad Hair Day
Typical word usage: Get the fuck off the road if you can't drive right! I will kill you and your pets and your neighbor's pets!
Food: The flesh of your ancestors
Soundtrack: Godflesh, Front Line Assembly, Cannibal Corpse

Emotional symptoms: Edginess, irritability. Do not touch me. Don't even look at me.
Physical symptoms: The bloat has moved up to my breasts.
Typical word usage: You want a piece of me? Keep away from my coffee.
Food: Aything and everything. Completely ravenous. red, red meat.
Soundtrack: Slayer/God Hates Us All

Day 4:
Emotional Symptoms: Intropsective, morose, vulnerable, depressed (see, martyr)
Physical symptoms: I feel nothing. nothing.
Food: I do not need food to exist. I live off the pain and sadness that I am fed daily. (do i have this martyr thing down, or what?)
Soundtrack: Nick Cave, Stabbing Westward, Hayden

Day 5:
Emotional Symptoms: Happy Happy Joy Joy. Bouncing off the walls. Giddy, uncontrollable laughter.
Basically - completely delirious and unfit to be seen with in public.
Physical symptoms: that wild-eyed look
Typical word usuage: Let's knock over some garbage cans!
Food: breakfast: coffee. lunch: tequila. dinner: mas tequila.
Soundtrack: The Cure, Depeche Mode, Theme to SpongeBob SquarePants

So from now on I will tell you when the proper day comes around every month and you can take out your charts and tread accordingly in these parts.

Just so you know, this is currently Day 2. You've been warned.

the (embarassing) lyrics of your life

the (embarassing) lyrics of your life

Hello my love, I heard a kiss from you
Red magic satin playiní near too
All through the morning rain, I gave, the sun doesnít shine
Rainbows and waterfalls run though my mind

Brothers Johnson, Strawberry Letter 23

Sometimes the past is just a really embarassing stain on your shirt.

We listened to that song last night - me, my sister and her husband - because he brought it up and I had some good memories to go with it so we thought we would download it and reminisce. We had to look up the lyrics, because we weren't sure. And then we laughed. I mean, I loved this song. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. But what the hell was he talking about?

conversation about the song then:
This song doesn't make sense
I'm sure it means something
The meaning is like...hidden
Yea, how genius is that! It's cryptic!

conversation last night:
This song doesn't make any sense
It does if you've ever dropped acid

So, as I battled insomnia for another night, I stayed awake thinking about all those songs I loved back in the 70's, when I thought I was cool and a deep thinker and intellectual. When I would interpret the words of Jim Morrison or Robert Plant as if they were gospel.

There was a night, and I can't believe I'm telling you this, when we sat on the back of Mark G.'s El Camino and discussed the lyrics to Stairway to Heaven.

To be a rock and not to roll. Wow. That's like...so deep. I totally know what he's saying there.
Yea, he's saying like....be a rock. But not a roll, you know?
I think he's saying like....don't just be a part of the world, but like, move it...right? Do something with your life?
And like...if there's a bustle in your hedgerow...
Well, I think that's like a secret message, dude.

Only now do we realize that Robert Plant was nothing more than a pretentious Lord of the Rings fan who just liked to get high and throw random words together. But I suppose a stoned teenager could find meaning in anything.

We spent hours upon hours in Mary's basement, with the posters and the lights and the Doors. Jim Morrison spoke to all of us. He called to us. He preached to us with his words. "The blue bus is callin' us, The blue bus is callin' us, driver, where you taking us"

You know what the blue bus means, right?
Oh yea, the blue bus. That's like...a metaphor.
I think it can mean so many things.
That's the thing about Jim, his lyrics are like...for everyone. You can make them your own.

Again, random words strung together to look like existentialist poetry. Nothing, however, would be so embarassing in later years as realizing how much importance we placed in Genesis lyrics.

The squonk is of a very retiring disposition and due to its ugliness, weeps constantly.
It is easy prey for hunters who simply follow a tear-stained trail.
When cornered it will dissolve itself into tears. True or False?

What? How could I honestly have ever thought that those lyrics meant something? How could I have placed so much value in Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel? No wonder I wrote really shitty poetry at that age.

I'm happy to say I got over my obsessions at an early age. Once punk rock hit the scene, I was all about simplicity and head bashing in my lyrics. It wasn't until many years later when going through my record collection that I realized what a huge ass dork I was. But I also realized it's a ritual of life. Teenagers tend to place their faith in rock stars. They feel like they are being spoken to, or spoken about, and all of life's lessons - the heartbreaks, the sadness, the loneliness of being a dorky teenager - can be found in Linkin Park lyrics.

I just hope that ten, fifteen years from now the kid down the block will be going through his old cd collection and he'll come across a Limp Bizkit cd and think "all for the nookie?? What the hell were we thinking??"

March 06, 2002

celebrity true stories: she who shall not be named

celebrity true stories: she who shall not be named

1995. Or 96. I was still married then, and it was fall, but still felt like summer. The summer had been odd, to say the least. We spent a week or two of August with a blonde psuedo-actress/celebrity who shall remain nameless here, but who is easily identifiable by the stature of her breasts and her hips and by the fortunes of her now dead, but then elderly and frail, husband and whom we shall call "A" so as not to place me in the path of people searching google for naked pictures of this model/B-movie actress/celebrity. And no, I have none.

I was, through marriage, related to the person who directed A in several of her stellar theatrical endeavors. This person also "kept the company" of A, if you know what I mean, and when he came to visit his family this summer, he brought the starlet along with him.

There are several stories I could tell you about the week or so that the wannabe-diva was here, but I won't. Not now. But I will tell you about when she returned for a visit in the fall. You should keep in mind that during the August week she was here, her hosts and their family had gone from star struck to scornful in one fell swoop.

It was September, maybe two weeks after school started. My then husband's grandfather had gone missing and the next week his body turned up in a dumpster in the Bronx. It was, obviously, a difficult time for the family. We set about the business of planning a funeral and everything that entails. The relative in California, A's director, was called. He was told to come for the funeral of his father. But not to bring A with him. This wasn't the time nor the place for her histrionics.

The next day he arrives, with A in tow. She wouldn't miss this for the world, she says, as if it were a premiere of a movie. After all, he was like a father to her, too. Yes, right. Because she knew him all of one month. And spent about 20 hours total in person with him during that time. He was so like a father to her.

So the day of the wake comes. Italian wakes are dramatic and overwrought enough without half-witted celebrities in attendance. Especially half-witted celebrities who seem to have taken a little too much of their medication. She struts into the funeral home, dressed for the Oscars but apparently naked in the class department. She's carrying on about something and my ex's parents ask her to please wait in the sitting area while the wake is going on. They do not want her inside the room where the service is being held. She sullenly plops herself in a chair out in the hallway, pouting and petulant and waiting for the people strolling in to recognize her.

Later, I come out of the ladies room and I notice that A, still sitting and pouting in the chair, seems to be talking to herself in a soothing tone. And she's stroking her coat. I stare at her quizzically for a moment and then go back into the room where the wake is being held. I casually mention A's odd behavior to some family members and someone remarks that at least she's being a good sport by staying out there.

And with that comment, the doors to the room swing open and A walks in with a sweeping gesture and stands there, waiting to be noticed and admired. When no one stands up to applaud her entrance, she saunters her way towards the coffin, flipping her hair as she walks. She gets to the coffin, looks down at the man she barely knew yet whom was apparently a father figure to her, turns her head to make sure she has our rapt attention, and begins to wail. She's incoherent, crying, sobbing, and there is not a person in the room who doesn't know that it is all an act. We've seen her movies. We know bad acting when we see it. Suddenly she puts the back of her hand up to her forehead, 50's movie star style, and falls to the floor in a faint. No one moves to help her. She lays there, hand still on forehead, skirt hiked up, a spectacle on display. Finally, the director/relative comes over, picks her up and walks her out to the chair in the hallway.

The service continues. We sit there quietly, talking in hushed tones to people who come to offer their condolences. Every once in a while, when it becomes very, very quiet, we hear a squeaking sound. At first, I think it's a child crying. Someone else thinks it's a person with new, squeaky shoes. Maybe a mouse? We can't figure it out, but it stops and starts until it gets irritating enough for us to go investigate. We follow the sound of the squeak out of the wake room, into the hallway, right to the .....chair. The chair where A is sitting. And she's sitting there, talking to herself again and petting herself, and I realize it's not a squeak we were hearing at all, but a yip. Rising out of A's coat like a beast coming from her breasts is the head of a poodle. A tiny, toy poodle yipping away at us.

She brought her dog to a funeral. No one says anything, no one bothers to explain to her why we are mad, because just the fact that she doesn't understand our anger or bewilderment speaks volumes.

I haven't seen her since. By the end of that year I was separated from my husband, and his family, and I never had to deal with her again. Once in a while, a movie of hers will show up on cable at 3am and I'll get a good chuckle out of her acting, because I've seen her best piece of work and it's not on film.

you let your baby do what??

you let your baby do what??

I was talking to Melly last night, trying to help her out with some parenting issues. I know, me giving parenting advice. How...ironic or something.

She was letting Mattie "cry it out" as they put it, and it was bothering her. She asked me for my opinion, not really my advice, so I gave it to her. I think it was what she wanted to hear, and I told her to please feel free to send me Mattie's therapy bills years from now when he has no coping skills because his mother didn't let him cry it out. That's what they say will happen, anyhow. You know who they are. The experts.

I told Melly, plain and simple, that the experts may know what is best for the babies they have had to deal with, but they don't know her baby. You can dispense all the advice in the world that you want, and you can write a book about it and go on tv and preach about it, but honestly, what holds true for the child of and expert does not necessarily hold true for yours. And while their advice may be fitting to hundreds, even thousands of parents and babies out there, it may not be fitting to yours.

I did not believe in letting my kids cry it out. Especially when they were infants. My heart told me that if a baby just spent nine months wrapped up in the snuggly confines of your womb, being alone and unsnuggled, without that comfort of a human presence, is going to frighten the hell out of him. Letting him cry it out to teach him how to sleep alone and be alone and comfort himself just seems a ridiculous lesson to teach an infant. I tried it for one night with each kid. I lasted a total of about 5 minutes each time, because I couldn't take the screams of lonliness and fear that were coming from the crib. Melly did better. She lasted 8 minutes before she went and got him.

Some of my favorite memories of the infant years of my children are when they would fall asleep on me. I would sit in the recliner and lay them on top of me, and their little heads would snuggle into my shoulder, and they would scrunch their tiny little legs up and their teeny little fists would grab a piece of my shirt, and they would fall asleep like that, breathing on my neck, feeling my heart beat against theirs. Sometimes they would take whole naps like that. I loved that feeling, that knowledge that I was comforting to them. That what they needed to feel peaceful and soothed enough to sleep was me. Or their grandfather or aunt or uncle. We all let them sleep like that. And we all miss that. You don't get those moments back. Rocking a baby to sleep, singing lullabyes in their ears, stroking their hair and curling your finger around their wrists while they sleep, those are the moments I wish I could have all over again.

It didn't stop there, though. I never did put either child back in their crib. They both slept with me until they were two, and were excited at the thought of getting their own big-kid bed. I received lecture after lecture about the dangers of letting my child sleep with me. Not "you'll suffocate her" lectures. That I would have laughed at. Mostly, I heard from people who thought I was doing grave psychological harm to my children. I was told they would never be independent, they would have serious mental issues when they got older, they were more likely to become depressed, suicidal, unable to form intimate relationships....the list of scare tactics goes on.

If you think a "family bed" or "co-sleeping" isn't for you, then fine, it isn't for you. But don't lecture other people about it. You aren't raising their kid. You aren't living in their home. Every child is different and just because yours prefers sleeping alone in his crib does not mean that every child will prefer that. It doesn't mean that every parent will prefer that. Save your lectures. Save your judgments. I'm not going to judge you for letting your kid sleep in his crib. Because that's obviously what your kid likes if he's happy. So don't judge the way I let my child sleep.

I didn't give Melly my advice. I gave her my opinion, and my experience. I told her that what worked for me may not work for her. I hope she stops listening to the "experts" because the only expert when it comes to raising your child is you. Not Dr. Spock, not Penelope Leach, not some crazed nazi-parent on Oprah who thinks that children should be completely independent by the age of 2.

Parenting comparisons suck. The minute someone comes up to you in Chucky Cheese and says "oh, my child is the same age and she's talking already," or "I can't believe you let your child have a pacifier," run. Get up and run. You do not want to deal with these people. Not only will they villify you for your sleeping arrangements, but they will question your choice of diaper brands, your pediatrician, your decision not to breasfeed and the laundry detergent you use. If you mention that your baby had a fever last night, their baby will have had a higher fever. Their clothes cost more and last longer and their child eats better and can draw and read and speak five languages at 8 months old. Stay away from these people. They will only make you feel bad and inadequate, when you are really neither of those things.

You are your own expert. For the rest of your child's life it will be you - not doctors or teachers or guidance counselers or aunts or neighbors - who will know your child's needs and limits better than anyone. Put the books and magazines down and parent by instict. It's the best parenting tool there is.

tidbits 3.06

tidbits 3.06

Just woke up from a dream in which I drove backwards all the way to Pensacola, Florida and when I got there I realized I forgot to pack my tampons, and all the stores there were closed. So I drove all the way back to New York. Backwards. I woke up feeling car sick.

I'd like to thank the voters of California for sending Gary Condit a message and, more importantly, sending him packing.

It's almost spring, and of course my thought are turning to baseball and March Madness. It looks like the business as usual for the Mets and for Derek Jeter is starting to make a tradition out of spring training injuries. I'm probably the only Yankee fan who doesn't care for Jeter, and that's only because I see him as a future Ricky Henderson. No, that's not a compliment.

Not a whole lot going on in my head today. I'm working on a story that I promised Phineas I would tell, but I'm debating whether tellling the story of my strange week with a crazed celebrity would cause trouble for me or not. So, if I didn't say her name (to avoid the bizarre google searches I would get here) and I just said blonde, gold-digging, psuedo-actres with big tits, you would know who I was talking about, right? Ok then. Maybe I'll tell the story tomorrow.

Today is Wednesday, so it's website o' the day over in the sidebar and today's choice is The Caption Machine. I love making captions. I've done it over at Dodd's place and at Blogatelle, and now there's one more place to make fun of nuns and pets and poor, unsuspecting webloggers.

Oh, look. My coffee pot is leaking.

March 05, 2002

story time: tales of juvenile delinquency in the name of good taste

story time: tales of juvenile delinquency in the name of good taste

I heard a song in the supermarket yesterday and it reminded me of this incident.

The year is 1978. I'm in high school, beginning of junior year. There's me and three guys and we are best of friends. We go nowhere without each other, we make no convoluted plots to take over the world without all of us present. We move like stealth bombers in the night, all army jackets and dirty jeans and Genesis t shirts (before Phil Collins ruined the band, ok?) We are the cutting edge of a white-bred community, which really isn't saying much, but we think we are the coolest people on the face of the earth. We listen to prog rock and punk rock and never pop rock or disco or, god forbid, Journey or Bruce Springsteen. We think guitar solos are passe but drum solos rock the house. We think Peter Gabriel is a genius and bands like Styx and Fleetwood Mac need to be silenced. We secretly listen to Van Halen but no one tells the other until years later, when we can laugh at David Lee Roth from the safe distance of many years.

We don't hang out at the mall like the other kids. No, we hang out in Kevin's room with the black lights and Emerson Lake & Palmer posters, or we hang out in Paul's garage, with the drum set and the Ramones "Road to Ruin" playing over and over. Every once in a while though, we are drawn to the mall, because Record World owns us. It is the only reason to get on public transportation. It is the only reason to beg someone's older brother for a ride. To buy records and look through the stacks of vinyl and pray that you will find some obscure punk rock album in the cut out bin for 99 cents, but all you can find is Heart and Blue Oyster Cult, and a 45 of Nazareth's "Love Hurts" that you play 50 times in the next three days.

One of those weekends arrives when there's nothing to do because Kevin's mom won't let us hang out in the house and Paul's mother is having a garage sale so we can't hang out there. We decide to hop the bus and go to the mall, where we will pool our money together to buy an album, and have enough left over to ask Kevin's brother to buy us quarts of beer when we get home. Perfect day.

We get to the mall and the first thing we notice is there's more security guards than usual. This is suburbia. There's not much trouble at the mall. We figure there's some kind of protest going on. You know how those college kids are, always protesting the fur or the man or whatever gets them out of the dorms. So we make our way through the mall, wanting to just get to the record store and get the hell out of there without encountering any cheerleaders or football players or giddy junior high girls that always try to pick up Tim. We are about two feet from the record store when we are stopped by a short, fat security guard and a velvet rope going across the length of the mall.

"You cannot get through this way. You must go around the other entrance to the mall and wait on line." The guard stands with his hand in his pocket, as if he is believing his own lie that he's a real cop and there's a gun hidden away there.
"Wait for what?" I ask him. "What's the line for?" He rolls his eyes at me.
"The show. The concert." I can almost here the "Duh!" coming out of his mouth.
We look beyond the velvet ropes, past the throng of the most hideous looking group of middle aged women and giggling teenagers forming what looked like a huge conga line of patheticness. There's an amplifier set up on each corner of the square the ropes have formed. There's a makeshift stage in the middle, really just a few planks of wood. A concert. A show.
"So, who's playing?" Kevin asks the guard. He rolls his eyes again.
"Only Leo Sayer!" He says this with pride and arrogance. As if we should have known that the most untalented white boy to ever grace pop music was playing in our very mall today.
"Leo Sayer," I say.
"Leo Sayer," The other three say.

We look at each other in the way that only friends who have performed sinister acts of rebellion together in the past can do. The look. The glance. The unspoken words that pass between us. The guard senses something going on. He looks us up and down, sees the clothes and the hair and the patches on the jackets and you can just about see the light bulb go on over his head.

"Hey! You're not here to see Leo!"
"Duh," I say. "We're here to buy some records. Can we go in?"
"No. Come back tomorrow. And don't make any trouble. I know your kind."
"Sure," Tim says. "Sure. We'll be on our way now. You take care, ok?" His words were the equivalent of patting the guy on the head.

We walk around the other side of the mall. We stake the place out, eyeing the set up of the amps and the positioning of the security guards. We synchronize our watches and hatch our plan and wait. We wait patiently. Fifteen minutes until Leo Sayer bounces on to the stage, white boy afro and squeaky voice, ready to rock the world with "You Make me Feel Like Dancing." Wanna dance the night away? Nope. Not with you, Leo.

We must do this. In the name of good music. In the name of Peter Gabriel and Joey Ramone.

Five minutes til Leo.

Finally, we hear a squeal rise out from the crowd. The sound of 200 or more tone-deaf women swooning at the site of a guy who looks like the poster child for geeks. We assume our positions. We wish each other luck in our mission. It's time.

Leo is escorted on to the wooden plank stage by his manager and two mall security guards. The women swoon. The music cues (this is the 70's - he's going to lip sync) - and we run in four opposite directions. Within thirty seconds we have done it. We have unplugged all of Leo's speakers. The music stops. Leo is just about to "sing" the first words into the mic and everything goes dead. He's mouthing words to dead air. Silence.

The security guard who spoke to us earlier spies me as I am walking swiftly away from the northeast amp. "IT"S THEM!," he shouts, pointing in my direction, and then swinging around to see Kevin running the other way. He points at him, at me, yelling at the other security guards, his face red and sweaty and alarmed. I'm having fits of laughter while I'm running, thinking that the guard is acting as if we just killed the president. I keep thinking about book depositories and grassy knolls and this too fat mall cop running after me because some disco pop boy had his amp unplugged.

The four of us meet outside, at the bus shelter and we decide it's too risky to wait another ten minutes for the bus to come so we start the long walk home, stopping every once in a while to roll around on the sidewalks in fits of laughter.

We get home, tell Kevin's brother about our exploits and he buys us beer and let's us drink it in his room. This is the big time. The older brother's secret sanctuary. He holds up his quart of piss warm Miller and toasts to us. "To good music!" We toast back, drink our beer and it doesn't dawn on me until now, 20 something years later, that Genesis wasn't really good music, and that Leo never had a hit after that day.

tidbits 3.05

tidbits 3.05

I don't care what your reasons are, but naming your baby Homer is never a good idea. Let's look at this kid's future for a second: His name is Homer. Homer Laffoon. His mother is Ann Heche. His mother went on national tv claiming that she is from another planet. His name is Homer Laffoon. Welcome to the world of dodge ball target, kid.

Amy Fisher is out. Paula Jones is in. I think they are missing out on the real money makers here. Get people with real feuds in the ring. Like Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg. For that, I would watch prime time Fox.

Sue me, but I really want to see this. Even though I despise Sharon Osbourne, I think Ozzy is a hoot.

Can someone please explain to me how one goes about sneaking a ten kiloton anything into a city?

Happy Reaganniversary!

Weblog o' the day: Miguel and his Feral Living. (He plays with dolls)

Newly found blog to be in love with: twistypants

March 04, 2002

good nutrition for growing kids

good nutrition for growing kids

What I said as means of an explanation for my actions:

When one is confronted with an overabundance of choices (see this morning's post) and when said choices completely overwhelm you to the point of blanking out, you usually end up making the most absurd choice possible, often guided by the impulsive side of your conscience.

What I meant:

I made Rice Krispy Treats for dinner tonight.

pop quiz

pop quiz

1. Who is General Tso and why am I eating his chicken?
2. What does it mean when there is no fortune in your cookie?
3. Do you ever feel like armageddon snuck in the door when we weren't looking?

Answers in sentence form. Number two pencils only.

will that be large, extra large or super size?


will that be large, extra large or super size?

I stared at the ceiling for a long time last night, and again when it passed night and became morning and the ceiling still looked the same. I layed there and I wondered about everything and nothing and all the stuff in between.

I got up and stared at the ceiling in the living room and it didn't really change things except for the view, which was now eggshell white instead of plain old white. Or maybe it's antique white. It's one of those. Bob Ross used to use titanium white all the time and I liked that one even though it looked like all the other whites to me. It had a cool name. How many shades of white are there, anyhow? More importantly, how many do we really need?

When did we become innundated with all these choices? This is such a hard world for someone like me who needs 40 days and 3 notepads just to make a decision on what to wear to a dinner. When people talk about the simpler days, I think what they are referring to is not a lifestyle or underlying currents of war and bad politics. What they are talking about is the choices before us.

I used to go to the store to buy cigarettes for my dad, back when kids could throw a fistful of change at the man behind the counter and he would give you cigarettes, no questions asked. They were 45 cents a pack at the time and I think there were 3 choices in the glass cabinet. Lucky Strikes, Camels and some dainty cigarette made for women.

Even when I got older and started smoking myself, and cigarettes were 75 cents, the choices were relatively simple. Parlaiment, Marlboro, a couple of menthol flavored. Now you need a guide map to buy a pack of smokes. You can't just walk into a store and say "Marlboros, please" because the clerk will stand there and wait for you to say something else. You must clarify. Hard pack, soft pack? Lights, regular? Menthol, non menthol? Ultra lights or regular lights? Special Turkish delight flavored smoke? And don't forget you can get the same smoking effect in 200 different brands of no-frill cigarettes.

Have you tried buying gum lately? It used to be Bazooka. On the counter, in a bucket, a penny a piece. You got a chunk of hard pink gum and a comic. Then came Bubblelicious and Yum-Yum and a million goofy flavors. Strawberry, lemonade, grape, cola, rooty tooty fruity, steak and potato.....and that's all before the sugarless gum that either freshens your breath or cleans your teeth or both at the same time. Some of them may even taste good.

Ketchup? Whoever thought there would be choices in ketchup? The only real choice was plastic or glass. Now, there's flavored kethcup. Smokey mountain flavor or barbeque flavor or mesquite or honey. And colors. Green and purple, with teal and pink to follow. Why? Why in the world do we need so many choices over one condiment? Does your burger need to be pretty as well as tasty? Do we really need to give kids a reason to play with their food? Then there's milk. 1%, 2%, skim, lactaid. Chips. With salt, without salt, baked, cripsy, cheese flavored, jalapeno flavored. Coffee. Decaf, caffeine, half decaf, roasted, columbian, breakfast blend, amaretto, irish cream....just give me a goddamn cup of coffee!

Have you bought tampons recently? How many choices do I really need in a tampon? Did you know they come in sizes? Super, extra super, super duper for the heavy flow nights and teeny tiny for those days when you aren't sure whether your period is still around or not. Don't forget to pick up the panty shields while you are down that aisle. Just make a quick decision between the winged and not winged and the ones that smell like baby powder or the ones that smell like a fresh summer breeze or the individually wrapped or not wrapped but powder free. After making those choices, I can barely get through the shampoo and deodorant aisle.

Help. I don't want to make any more decisions than necessary. I want to pull into the gas station and not have to wrack my brain trying to figure out what pump to go to. I want to walk into the bagel store and not be assaulted with 15 brand new flavors of bagels. Who the hell thought of a chocolate cheesecake bagel? I want to go to the supermarket and see one brand for everything I need. I'd even settle for two. It shouldn't have to hurt my brain to pick out a cereal or video card or a box of freaking crayons. Hell, I can't even figure out where to go out for dinner anymore because there's too many restaurants to choose from. I want a simple life. I don't want to make any more decisions than are necessary to move about my day in relative ease. I don't want to get a headache and then have to figure out whether I want a Tylenol or an Excedrin Migraine or and Advil.

Now, what kind of file do I want to save this as? Word for Windows, rich text, wordperfect 6, or 7....

tidbits 3.04.02

tidbits 3.04.02

Drive through version of tidbits today:

Anathea is sending me a real chocolate jesus. Homemade. Bless you, child.

The response to my request for someone to help me with the banned book site was overwhelming. I will get back to all of you today. Thank you a million times over.

QOD, misheard lyrics, running all week.
Aortal pick: coolStop.
New to particpate section: pepys project
New to the sidebar: netdork, wKenShow and derelict.

Thank you, drive around to window 2 please.

March 03, 2002

where is my mind?

where is my mind?

We watched Billy Elliot today, by default, and I liked it. It was a weepy movie with a feel-good ending and it had The Jam and The Clash featured in it. What's not to like?

And now I'm sitting here, looking for two things I seem to have misplaced and wondering if I am ever going to be organized enough to know where all my things are. I don't know if my head is in the clouds, as my mother says, or my head is up my ass, as my sister says. Either way it's apparently not where it's supposed to be, meaning I've misplaced yet another thing.

If I start searching right now for my car keys and my office ID for tomorrow, I may actually figure out where I put them before sunrise. But right now I need to find, in no particular order: a one hundred dollar bill, my checkbook, a newspaper clipping that is very important to my mother, my black bra, the suddenly missing Refused cd and the flyer I made for the reading program, which is obviously lost in the D drive somewhere. Oh yes, and my head.

it's out there

QOD --->

it's out there

There are some days I sit in front of the computer for hours, doing nothing but blogging, talking on AIM, playing mind-numbing games and looking at porn.

Did I say porn? I meant pictures of bunnies and kittens.

Do you ever feel like you take the internet for granted? Let's face it, the net is like a lover to most of us. A life partner, an entity that is part of us, that we can't live without. So to take it for granted would just seem par for the course, no? Don't you ever sit there, looking at another blog, or another flash cartoon and wonder what else there is out there? The vast sources of information that lie right at our fingertips...if only we could stop downloading music long enough to actually look at the depth of what's before us.

I was watching Call for Help on TechTV the other night, and Chris's guest was Diane Provo, an expert in the field of learning disablities in children. The amount of resources and information that is available on the internet to parents of learning disabled children is astounding.

If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you know that Natalie has learning issues. She was in special ed from pre-school until she was mainstreamed in fourth grade. Getting the help I needed for her, and finding the resources to get me that help, was a small war I waged daily. I spent hours in libraries, leafing through pamphlets and archaic books and medical journals that meant nothing to me. I didn't know how to reach other parents with similar problems, how to fight the school system, how to help my daughter at home, on my own. It was 1993. I had no computer, let alone the internet.

If I had the resources then that are available to people now, our struggle would have been less of battle than it was. In an instant, I would have been able to look up facts on ADD and other learning issues. I would have been able to find out more about Ritalin and learning styles and things to do at home to improve your child's attention span. I would have known that most of the doctors were full of crap and that 3 out of 4 diagnoses were wrong. The battle may still have been there, but it wouldn't have been as long and I would have been armed.

When I decided that she didn't need medication at all, what she needed was someone (namely me) to work with her at home to get those extra things she couldn't get in school, I had to use every ounce of my energy and every spare minute of my time finding ways to make that happen. It was time consuming and exhausting and sometimes very futile.

If the internet was then what it is now, I would simply have had to do a search and in minutes, I would have worksheets and printouts and educational games. I would be able to email experts and find other parents in my area with the same issues.

My point? It's out there. Any piece of information you could possibly need about any subject is right in front of you. Having a problem you don't know how to handle? There are probably a million people just like you and in about twenty seconds after punching in a few keywords on Google, you will find resources and a support group to help you. From the smallest piece of information (where have I seen that actor before?) to the most complicated questions, it's all right here.

It's amazing when you think about it. Some day are kids our going to be amazed that we didn't have all this when we were younger. We did live without it at some point, which makes me appreciate it all the more.

I think that's one of the reasons I started the banned books project; to give back a little, to offer something useful to someone else who may be out there doing a project and is looking for resources. It may not be the answer to the questions of life or quantum physics or life saving information, but I just felt the need to do something useful with my space here.

Find something useful to do with the internet today. Something important. Look up the words to an old poem you can't remember anymore. Learn how to change the oil in your car. Learn about cancer prevention. Find some counseling for a problem. Just one thing, each day, just so your internet connection doesn't threaten to leave you one day because you are taking advantage of it. You know how neglected lovers can be.

tidbits 3.03

tidbits 3.03

We watched Hedwig and the Angry Inch last night. I thought it was a stunning movie. It was, all at once, sad, lonely and empty, yet hopeful and uplifting. It was also incredibly thought provoking. We spent almost the rest of the night talking about love and soulmates and if a person truly has another half and if they do, can they live without every finding that other half. Can one be truly whole without their soulmate? No answers, just a lot of pondering. The movie reminded me in many ways of Tommy, with the music and the plot that played out like a surreal landscape. I truly enjoyed Hedwig, enough to put in my "to buy" column, but before I buy could somebody please explain the last fifteen minutes to me? I felt like I went to the bathroom and missed that one sentence that would clarify the whole thing for me.

I'm going to need a chart soon to keep up with the blogs on my sidebar who have either dropped off the face of the earth or gone on hiatus. I'll add two to the chart today.

If anyone out there would like to help me with the banned books project, (i.e., redesigning/coding the whole damn thing) I would be eternally grateful, the banned books would be eternally grateful, librarians everywhere would be eternally grateful and ummm.....I'd pay you. In books. Banned books. Email me. Please?

Don't forget to add your two cents to the QOD. Or five cents, whatever you can afford.

Your moment of internet zen.

March 02, 2002

the internet according to jesus

the internet according to jesus

So I hear Jesus invented the internet. So I'd like to pose a few questions to him then. [link via christine, who made the al gore joke i was thinking of]

1. If you brough the internet to us, why are you letting Bill Gates, who is obviously a minion of Satan, control it?
2. Can you do something about Doubleclick?
3. Is this you? Or is this you? And what do you think of this?
4. What do you think about my chocolate jesus idea?
5. Do you have a blog?
6. Is AOL really necessary?
7. How come the only people making money on the net are the ones selling porn? That can't possibly be what you had in mind.
8. Maybe you should add some commandments to reflect your great invention. Like, thou shalt not have websites with flashing, animated gifs and Metallica midis. Or thou shalt not butcher the English language in instant messages.
9. Do you have AIM? What's your buddy icon?
10. Do you have a wager going with hell.com on who gets the most hits in a week?
11. I know this has nothing to do with the internet, but now that I have your attention, what did you think of Jesus Christ, Superstar? Does Andrew Lloyd Weber go to heaven or hell for that?
12. You know Scott Stapp? He's been impersonating you. Want me to take him down?

Anything you want to ask Jesus while we have his attention?

fashion victim

laugh at yourself in QOD

fashion victim

Natalie had to "interview" me for homework the other night. She was asking questions about what I was like when I was her age. The questions were simple and fun to answer, and I admitted to her that my favorite song at the age was Rock On by David Essex and she seemed suprised that they had radios "way back then." Then she started asking questions about fashion, and I think at some point my eyes glazed over and I went into a trance where I relived the whole sordid decade.

My mom was the cause of all my major fashion woes. She was the dress nazi. My friends wore jeans to school, I had to wear dresses. Once in a while she would relent and let me wear neatly pressed and creased jeans, but while everyone was wearing Levi's, my mom would take us over to the bargain basement at May's Department store and get us Wranglers. Levi's were light blue and soft. Wrangler's were dark blue and hard. They made you walk like you had a stick up your ass, and the Wrangler label on the back of your jeans usually signified that you were horribly out of the fashion loop.

What the hell did it matter to me, anyhow? I was stigmatized from back in first grade when my mother dressed me up in this hideous pinafore type dress that had an embroidered clock right on the front of it. Can we say DORK? This has become one of those family inside joke things. Whenever I am trying to blame my mother for mental quirks, one of my sisters will always yell "you made her wear a dress with a clock in it!"

Don't even get me started on the ponchos or the red, white and blue pants. Or the hideous Dorothy Hammil haircut I was forced to get every month.

There were dresses made out of terrycloth and macrame and velour and shorts that were really skirts and sweaters that doubled as jackets.

I revolted later on, if you can call it that. Yea, I thought I was being cool. I had Earth Shoes, damn it. I had courdoroys. Yea, baby...cordouroys. I had my first pair of platform shoes -with corked heels no less - and groovy bellbottom jeans with patches all over them.

The later in got in the decade, the worse the fashion became. Everyone looked like Stevie Nicks at one point, all angel sleeves and flowing, handerkchief cut hems on the dresses with patterns that could make a blind person dizzy. If you weren't Stevie Nicks, you were Annie Hall, dressed in whatever unmatching ensemble you found under your bed that morning. It was impossible to keep up with what was cool to wear in the late 70's. But when the disco style came in, I bailed out of the fashion race. I toyed with androgony for a while, sporting an ensemble that usually included Chuck Taylor Converse All-Star hi tops in black, a concert jersey (baseball style, with colored 3/4 sleeves), worn out Levi's that were all frayed at the bottom and my then-boyfriend's army jacket.

Then I found my fashion voice. Black. It's simple, really. When you can't figure out what the smart fashion is, or you don't like what everyone else is wearing or you want to hide your head in the sand and pretend that fashion doesn't exist, wear black. You can't go wrong. Black shirt, pants, shoes, sweater...hell, I've got it down right to the bra and panties. You never look dorky or hopeless. Even better, you usually blend into the crowd, and people don't even notice you. Which is nice, if that's what you're going for, like me. It's the ultimate fashion statement, really.

I think I've figured this out. It's the inevitable evolution of my fashion sense and pride. Next time my mother yells at me for wearing black all the time, I can just point my finger in her direction and blame it all on the clock dress.

tidbits 3.02

tidbits 3.02

I finally slept last night. From about 12 until 4 without waking up, which is a genuine good night's sleep for me. I may actually be coherent today.

Finally, a new QOD today. Misheard lyrics, because I needed a cheap, easy laugh.

I'm doing something new on the weekends. Instead of the weblog hall of infamy I have on the sidebar during the week, where I highlight a site in my links list, I will have an Aortal pick instead, because I have been sorely slacking in my aortal duties. This week's pick is a site that was once in my links list and must have fallen off the moving truck during the many transistions of this site. Jimformation is the pick, and I'm sure many of you have been to his site already. I don't know what's more stunning -his poetic use of language or his photography. Spend some time poking around there, ok?

And welcome Fluggart to the links list, please.

Shel and I are still looking for authors for Procrastiblog. We have 4 or 5 lined up already, but would like at least one more. We're looking to go live next week, so if you want to share your knowledge of all the fun and time wasting sites on the internet, contact Shel.

If I may brag for a moment, I am number one on Yahoo search for humongous black tits. Unfortunately there are no of those to be found here. And....drumroll please......I have finally taken a giant step in my quest for world domination: I am number one on Google for michele! Thank you, thank you.

Some words of advice for today: don't smuggle sperm, beware of trojan horses in the form of aromatherapy, and when all else fails, save your own ass.

Anyone who wants to financially capitalize on a horrible crime should meet the same fate someday. And if you came here, as so many people have, looking for the Daniel Pearl video, here you go, fuckwad. (link courtesy of interesting monstah).

Now, go make me laugh.

March 01, 2002

jenna bush, dick cheney and free t shirts

keeping tally on the war, starring Jenna Bush and Dick Cheney
or: 48 hours without sleep, please forgive me.

So how is the war on terrorism going? Does anyone know? Is there any form of measurement we can use to see how far we've come? Someone needs to make one of those tally bars, like they have at blood drives or school fund raisers. We could make a giant measured stick or something, put it outside the White House, and fill in the notches with colored magic markers each time the war progresses a bit. Then we could post little signs along the way:

Over 200 terrorists caught!
The War on Terrorism has reached 4 feet! Free McDonald's for everyone!
Camp X-Ray reaches capacity! That's another 3 inches towards the final goal!

There could be weekly raffles, where everyone puts their name in a big barrel and Ashcroft comes out of the White House, possibly on Friday afternoons, and he draws a name from the barrel and that person gets a free "Don't let the terrorists win: support your local mall" t-shirt. Or a free subscription to Moral Majority magazine. Maybe once in a while there could be entertainment. Ashcroft could sing or Rumsfeld can just make one of his speeches where his face gets really animated. That's always funny.

This could all be done on live tv, I would say C-Span 2, and then the public could really get a feel for where this war on terrorism is going. Like, last week we were at only 3 feet but this week the stick is marked off at 8 feet! Way to go, America! Measurements could be made many ways. For instance, how many new prisoners are brought into Camp X-Ray each week, or how many times a bomb actually hits it target or how many leaflets and hundred dollar bills are caught by the citizens of Afghanistan. Also, points can be tallied by counting the tattered American flags waving from foreign cars. If we can get those foreign car buying commies to put flags on their automobiles, then we are winning the war on terrorism! Yee ha!

Of course, if Bin Laden isn't found (dead or alive, like those posters that came with your newspaper in September say) then the war really can't be won. So part of the festivities each Friday can be a Bin Laden watch, where Cheney speculates on the whereabouts of the head terrorist, and puts little pins on a map where he thinks Ol Dirty Laden may be. Then he invites members of Congress to get up and put their own pins on the map, and when Bin Laden is found, the person who had the pin closest to his hiding spot wins a "I won the war on terrorism" t-shirt.

So each week, the tally bar moves up a bit, and there's singing and dancing and entertainment by the Bush twins (possibly beer chugging contests) and a big rush of confetti and propaganda fliers are released when the tally moves up a bit.

This will be good for Americans. It will give a boost to the morale of the country to know exactly where we stand in this war. Visual aids always go a long way towards making people understand what's going on. The tally bar can become a bit of a tourist attraction too, and that in turn will pour money into the economy, and that in turn will help keep the terrorists from winning, and that in turn will raise the notches on the tally bar an inch or two. It's a win-win situation!

So. How is the war on terrorism going?

tidbits 3.01

tidbits 3.01

Happy Birthday to Nancy! Nancy is like the sister I never had. Wait....I have two sisters....Ok, she's like the lesbian sister I never had. Seriously, she is one of the most amazing people I ever had the pleasure of crossing paths with. Please, go wish her a happy birthday and tell her, she's not 40, she's just twice as fun as 20! And after you wish her a happy birthday, read what Choire has to say about her and then follow his instructions.

There's something odd in the air. I felt it first the day before yesterday, an almost imperceptable shift in the wind, a different smell to the air. Like someone just upped the voltage on the amplifier of life. It was in the way people were driving, the bizarre news items that kept turning up, the giddiness coming from people who are normally stoic and presumed to have no personality. It was a bit frightening. Is it me or did anyone else notice this?

I don't know what to make of the fact that three of the cops who were convicted of participating in the beating and torture ofAbner Louima have had their verdicts overturned. It still floors me how techinicalities can allow people who are obviously guilty of something go free. Being a police officer does not mean you can abuse the power given to you. I hope these men never have a peaceful night's sleep in their life again. And I hope that someday our justice system is overhauled so it protects the victims of crime as much as it protects the perpetrators of crime. There are those who believe that Justin Volpe, the worst offender in this crime, was telling the truth when he said that Schwarz, one of the men whose verdict is being overturned, was not in the bathroom with him when Volpe brutally tortured Louima. Now Volpe's attorney thinks that if the verdicts are overturned, that means Volpe was telling the truth to the jury and his sentence should be reduced for that. What the fuck? All that means to me is that there was someone in the bathroom with him and he's still not telling who it was. Which means if it wasn't Schwarz, there is some bastard sadistic police officer walking around whistling Dixie while someone else is doing his time. Either way, the whole thing sucks. Our whole legal system is out of order.

Ok, that was just going to be a one line blurb there. Sorry.

Anyhow, in today's Hall of Infamy, we have Glace, the girl formerly known as glaciergrrl but who is now apropos of nothing.