Monday, August 31, 2009

Where Ya Been?

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Hat tip to Mark for reminding me that he'd told me about this ages ago.

You should totally do this, takes about 10 seconds and it's fun to see it. I have a lot of catching up to do. Good thing I spent all that time singing for my supper in the mid-west.

This Is Why My Blog Is Not Linked To My Facebook Account

Let me try to let you in on this Facebook stalker thing. I don't know if it's stalking when someone all but calls you up on the phone to tell you, "Hello. I am stalking you. How are you enjoying it? May I have a pair of your panties, please? Used if you have them. Thanks. Love you. Bye."

I've had good luck reconnecting with folks via Facebook. I guess I was due? I met with a friend in Seattle who I haven't seen in like 25 years and it was so much fun and not weird at all. I regularly have dinner with someone I barely knew in high school but truly enjoy now. I was just chatting about the relative benefits of Aspercreme with another Facebook-found friend. It's been so good up to now.

Anyway, the stalking. A guy I went to high school with, he was in my class, he must have been in my homeroom and might even have sat next to me given the way the alphabet works. I have the vaguest picture of him in my mind from back then. It doesn't look a thing like the one photo he has on his Facebook profile. The profile shot isn't informative. It says a lot to me but it could go either way, don't want to profile his profile, you know? He wrote (on the FB) and asked if I'd like to have lunch or dinner. I'm trying to make it a policy to say yes to more things so I said yes and asked when he was coming to NYC. Well, he didn't know he'd get back in touch when he got back from Europe.

Later, weeks later, he asks me to send him a picture of me. That day his status update (the first one I've gotten) says, "Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx is tired of being single." Again, with that whole benefit of the doubt thing everyone is so fond of this could go either way. I ignore it. As does everyone else from what I can see. Days later I finally formulate a response to the photo request and explain to him how to see the photos on my profile, since they're open to everyone that seems reasonable. Maybe he's not so technically savvy. A few days later, as I'm getting back from my trip to ME, his status update is "Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx is tired of being single and alone." This makes me nervous. Makes me more nervous when I scroll through all the things I've missed while traveling and find that earlier in the day he'd posted the plain old single version and then, I guess, decided to elaborate. I also got a terse message saying he'd already looked through all my photos.

So? Why the request for a photo to be sent? What is that about? Confused and, I can't stress this strongly enough, creeped I simply don't respond.

Last night I'm noodling around on the computer and it seems I have another FB message. It's Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx again. It says simply, "Who is Cxxxx? Is he your boyfriend?" My profile says I'm single and the photo I can only assume he's talking about is of me and my cousin Cxxxx, just our backs, as we stand with a good foot between us, gazing at picturesque Multnomah Falls. The caption identifies him clearly as my cousin.

Least smooth guy on the face of the planet or man on the edge of taking an uzi into his gym? (And I don't say that to make light of the gentleman who recently did that. I say it because I'm seriously beginning to wonder. But maybe that's too harsh a judgment.) I wrote this back: "Xxx, you've got to read the captions. If you do you'll know who Cxxxx is. Also, if you're looking to get together solely because you're looking for someone to date that's probably not a great idea. I'd be happy to catch up but I'd rather keep things casual." It occurs to me that maybe he's not coming to New York and planning to have lunch with me while he's here but that he may be coming to New York solely to meet me because he's widened his search area for a date. That seems crazy, right? But also possible?

On the one hand I suppose it's possible he is just crazy-bad at this whole chatting chicks up thing. I can relate, I'm a klutz no matter the gender of the chattee and suspect I've made more than one person uncomfortable. And I'm someone who comes across better in writing than in a first conversation (just ask Zelda!), if the internet is to be believed that's unusual. If that's the case I probably have made him feel bad and I hate that, he's clearly lonely and nobody needs to feel lonely and bad about it. On the other hand, if he's truly as creepy as he's coming across and he overcomes my gentle rebuke then I'm probably going to feel bad enough that I'll actually go to lunch with him (in a well-lit, crowded place far from my home and I've already lined up at least one person to come with me).

I'm so bad at these things, please tell me WWID*?

*What Would the Internet Do?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tastes Like Wall

My 94-year-old great aunt, Rena, lives with my mom. She's bent and broken and angry about all of it. Since March she's lived with my mother. She's not too pleased about that either. My mom lives with that every day. Mom is either crazy or extremely brave or a combination where one looks like the other. I am lucky enough not to live with that but I do write once a week. I figure any distraction we can toss in the paddock will keep someone from getting gored. My mom often talks about writing back but never quite gets around to it. Recently she got a set of pet postcards from some animal charity and she sent every one to me. Not one of them talks about what she and Rena are up to or what she's thinking about. Every single one is a first person narrative from the animal on the front of the card.

Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do and where certain parts of my brain come from.

Other times it's as clear as day.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Like It

Years ago, back when my pup could be off leash in the park, I remember hanging around one evening with a bunch of the dog folk. Some ominous looking clouds began to roll in and many of the people hitched up their canines and headed home. Four or five women, myself included, wanted to stay. We were eager for the storm and when it broke we celebrated. There was whooping and hollering and raising our faces to the sky and chasing our dogs around the bowl of the park. The rain came down like the world's biggest faucet and we were soaked to the skin in moments. We loved it. I still think of those women fondly even though they aren't in the neighborhood anymore.

I like the rain, clearly. I don't necessarily love it when I've got places to go and things to do but I yearn for days like today when it creates the perfect cocoon for reading a good book. I was actually a little bummed when I looked at the forecast (I don't know, Danny looks a little down in the dumps but I wouldn't say he's depressed) and out my window and it didn't seem to be raining all that hard. It's not like I don't have shit to do and if the weather clears up I'm probably going to have to actually buckle down and do it!

It was warm so I decided against a jacket. I hate umbrellas. I went with clothes that wouldn't become see through and a ball cap to keep my glasses clear and headed out. Turns out it was raining harder than I thought. I briefly considered going back for the coat but couldn't be bothered. The rain today is almost surreal. It's stronger than a mist but feels light on your skin as though someone is painting you with the softest brush.

We walked through the park and then to the greenmarket for milk and slowly home. I got saturated, to be sure, but feel completely serene. Now in my dry clothes I hear my bed and my book calling my name.


Friday, August 28, 2009

A Professional Feeling

The way my life is set up lately I can sometimes fool myself into believing that I am a professional, tooling around doing that which I love. I just have to conveniently forget about the money part. Today is one of those days. Actually it started last night when I had to rush to meet a writing deadline. This morning I get up and go to dance class. I'll find a coffee shop and do some writing while I wait for it to be time to go to rehearsal with a good friend. And I'll be home by 6, ready to write some more. It's a template for my future, if you will.

I really hope the future comes soon.

And that it brings a paycheck.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh Crap I Forgot To Post To My Blog!

I spent a good chunk of my day visiting a friend in the hospital. That is, of course, not my story to tell. Suffice to say it was the focus of today for me. I did also go out to dinner and eat sushi while talking about the guy who is Facebook stalking me...but maybe not on purpose. Then my evening got thrown a curveball and my brain is a little fried. Oh and it occurs to me that I still have an errand to run before I sleep and I really want to sleep so I better get on that. Well, shit.

Humor me, will you? What did you do with your day?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Blanket Hog

Mrs. G is tightening things up over at The Women's Colony. She's making us sleep 2 or 3 in a bed, which frankly is perfect for what I'm doing over there! So, update your bookmarks, effective today all my posts have been moved and I'll be posting in The Bedroom (dear god please let it not be furnished like this picture) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (note the upgrade to 3 days a week, too!).

A huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who came over to support my work. The discussion has been a delight and I've already got more fodder for posts because everyone has been so positive and shared so much. I'm having so much fun I can hardly contain myself. I send Mrs. G so many posts she can't figure out when I mean for them to be posted. So thank you for making it fun, I hope I'm making it fun for you too!


These two haven't seen each other for years. At least they can be together here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

No Name Calling

I'm writing about Nazis, excuse me Nazi sympathizers, over at PPP. Care to join me?

Let's Just Shut Up & Look At The Pretty (x10)

Thank you Google Images.

Monday, August 24, 2009


I processed a bunch of photos tonight. Among them are the ones from my trip this weekend and a set from my first experience with geocaching.

Theme of the Day

I can't really wrap up my weekend into post form yet. I can, however, tell you everything I ate over the course of it, which fits my internet theme today.

Turkey, Cheddar and Cranberry sandwich on multi-grain bread
Pomegranate Fizzy Izze's soda
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Molasses Cookie
Cornmeal and Lemon Cookie
Blue Raspberry Mr. Misty
Chocolate Dairy Queen with Chocolate Dip
Herbed scones
Various sausages
Rose Prosecco
Scrambled Eggs with Asiago & Sun Dried Tomatoes
Fruit salad
Popover with Blueberry-Raspberry jam
Cranberry Chicken Salad on multi-grain bread
Double Chocolate Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Rice Crackers
Herbed Some Other Kind of Bread
Lobster Sauteed in Butter
Special Cake with some sort of Meringue and 2 Kinds of Nuts and Chocolate Ganache
Blueberry Pie
Poached Egg
1 Blueberry Pancake
Blueberry Muffin
More Pomegranate Fizzy Izze's Soda
Terrible Ham & Cheese Sandwich from D'Angelo's
Ginger Ale
Chocolate Sauce on a Spoon

So, all in all, just a fabulous weekend. I've got a new piece up at The Women's Colony that's also theme-appropriate. If any hetero guys have been feeling left out it'd be a good piece for you to check out. We could use your perspective. It has sports in it and sex. That's enticing, right?

How were your weekends?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Surrounding Mist

I've been having a lot of trouble keeping my cool lately. Perhaps you've noticed. In calmer moments I look at the frustration and anger and tears and dissect the catalysts to be sure they are legitimately worthy of my emotions. For the most part I've found that they are. In lighter days I might have had the power to feel them and not act on them but these days aren't light. There are a lot of new little things happening and a lot of old things that don't wear on me any less for being old. If your shoes are giving you blisters you aren't going to get fewer blisters if you just keep walking.

All this, this "normal" level of boil and toil, is boosted by time. This time last year Auntie Blanche was alive but she wasn't well. I'd made trips to see her and wondered if I'd see her again. Tomorrow she would have been 99. Last year, for 98, we had chocolate cake and sang funny songs and gave her presents she didn't really care about because she was headed out. I'm sure she simply did us the kindness staying in order not to ruin the plans we'd made for her party because one week later, to the day I think, she died. I remain livid at the people who forced the move that precipitated her decline. ChemE said to me the other day, "I'm never going to forgive that man." She's not alone. It's possible Auntie Blanche would have died before September 2008 rolled around no matter where she was living. She was after all within spitting distance of 100 years old. I know there's no way to prove that staying in the home she had carefully researched, chosen and molded to her liking would have kept her spirit alive. Regardless of the length of her life, had she not been forced to move, especially to a mill (a clean, well lighted mill, to be sure, but a mill nonetheless) that was not her style or her choosing and completely impossible to modify enough to camouflage it's true nature, she would at least have died happier.

When she went she was happy to go. I hated it and it took every ounce of strength I had to wish her well because I knew she wanted to go and it would make her happy and if it would make her happy then it was the right thing to want. She should have gone while being happy about her place in life, her surroundings, her town, her people, and the area she had infused with her strength of character. Her scales were tipped to make her glad instead to leave. I feel like I say, "I miss her." over and over again and that there must be some other way to phrase it, some new thing to say about it, some threshold in the process to have crossed but I'm damned if I can find it.

I just really miss her.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Better Than Dumb & Dumber

I'm going on a road trip!

A friend I've known since I was in short pants (not counting the recent resurgence of pedal pushers) and I are hitting the open road today for a weekend of wild and woolly fun. Our destination is classified as it is a surprise and I'm not 1000% certain that the surprisee doesn't read here. Let it suffice to say that it will involve wine, a cake and polka dot dresses. I will report back upon my return.

This friend has a mother, and that mother is very close to mine. They have traveled together to places far and near for decades now. To watch them is a marvel. I don't quite understand how they do it with water bottles spilling all down the aisle of a bus and distractions of enormous proportions and their inability to listen to each other all 100% of the time but they do. They get where they're going, they do it safely and they have a glorious time.

I was put in mind of them on Wednesday when, more than 48 hours in advance of our meeting, my friend and I engaged in an intricate discussion of our plans. The subject: Lunch. The BLT? Turkey with Cranberry chutney? Ooo, Curried Tuna Salad! Which bread? Cookie or brownie? Well, are the cookies all hard or partly soft? Do the brownies have nuts?

Our mothers will be so proud.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Quick heads up:

Chili's mom was finally able to let go in the very wee hours of this morning. The family is spending a quiet day mixed with relief and grief. I'm sure your best wishes would be well received in her comments section.


A Special Case of Me

You know how I feel about videos. You know it's a rare occasion when I watch them and I consider them a hitch in the giddyup of my internet reading. I concede that there is many a fair video out there on the intarwebs, though. JRH sent me this one. We were in Continual Chat Mode over e-mail (there's a form that rivals the requirements typed up by the MLA) so I was afraid she might want to talk about it. So I pressed play and was floored.

Her e-mail said, "At a meeting of the AARP (American Association of Retired People) they showed a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20 year old. The contest was Titled "U @ 50". This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant. Take a minute and watch it both foreword & backwards. Make sure the sound is on! Pass this on to your kids - very inspiring! I wonder what won first place?"

I don't care if you pass it on but do put your sound on. It's under two minutes and it'll be two minutes well spent, I give you my solemn vow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Can't Keep My Mouth Entirely Shut...Like, Ever

conservative protesters
see more Political Pictures

Not A Joke

Mrs. G asked me to be her sex blogger!

You know how The Women's Colony has different rooms for different subjects? She's launched a new one and she asked me to play hostess in it. Being requested for such a thing is immensely flattering, thank you Mrs. G! It's called G-Spot, natch, and it went live at midnight Pacific time last night.

Welcome new readers from the Women's Colony! Thanks for clicking through and for reading the new room. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. The comments section is already off to a lively start. I'll be chiming in there Mondays and Fridays for now with room for expansion if we're having such a good time we can't contain ourselves. In all seriousness I've wanted to blog about sex and erotica for ages but haven't got myself worked up enough to find a space for it. It's as though Mrs. G read my mind. Our unofficial mission for the G-Spot is, "A chance to answer questions, celebrate, ease fears and shame, recommend products and remind women 35 and over that we still have vaginas." That easing shame part is why, after consulting with smart friends, I decided not to use a pseudonym despite the fact that pretty personal information is bound to come up. Just because it's personal doesn't mean I'm ashamed of it.

This is going to be another one of those times when I have to disclaim and warn the readers who know me in non-sex blogger contexts. I remain baffled (in a pretty angry way) that this is necessary but historically it has proved to be.

This new venture may involve things that you don't want to know about me. If that's the case please use the skills that got you here to navigate away. Quietly. Despite what you may feel I am not standing on your lawn screaming this into your open window. You have the power. Use it or quit complaining. I need to make a code for this disclaimer. Have you ever whined to someone, "But you never called me!" and they replied, "Is your dialing finger broken?" This is the same thing. "But you said something that offends me deeply!" Well, "Is your mouse finger broken?"

I thought not.

Now, for the rest of us, come play with me at the Women's Colony, it's going to be a blast!


Oh CBS, you are on a roll.
Thank you, thank you, a thousand thank yous for bringing her into my living room once a week come fall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Hear What You're Saying

When I went to France I found that I remembered enough French to basically understand what people were saying to me but I couldn't formulate a response without a dictionary, a piece of paper and a tutor. It's the point in learning where you do actually understand the concepts but if asked to respond to them or teach them to others you get your feet tangled up and wind up nursing road rash on your forehead. It's the point that MAB always breaks through before me. He's just smart that way. (Or smaht if you grew up where we did.)

He's been away but he's finally back! And he's not angry, he's disappointed.

Yeah, you know that's worse.

Oh thank heavens he's BACK!

Not Hebrew National, Either

I lied to a higher authority.

The library.

I know, right? Totally going to hell.

The thing is that first library card was years ago, decades almost. At least one decade and a lot of change. I have no idea what address I had then nor can I remember exactly which materials I failed to return to the shrine. I do have the decency to remember that there were unreturned materials and for that I do humbly apologize. Even if they probably would be completely out of date and useless by now.

On the upside I have a NY State library card now. It's easier for me to get to the Mid-Manhattan library from work than to my local Brooklyn library (totally separate library system, by the way, so I have two library cards) given the opening hours. I wanted to check out these Bubbles Yablonsky books that Gypsy recommended but I didn't want to buy so I figured getting a card for the library was the way to go and once I got in there, so close to all the luscious, luscious books I couldn't leave without something in my hands so I told a sort of harmless fib.

None of this explains why only one of the five books I got out is a Bubbles Yablonsky one. Nor does it explain why I got five books out when I am in the middle of a book I'm loving, which I own. The lure of the library is strong. I think it might be the opiate of the people or something. If I get picked up by the Library Police will you please bail me out?


When things get a little jumbled it's always good to remind yourself of the things you love. What better way to use 10 Things Tuesday?

1. My dog. She always tops the list but I'm still grateful for her. She makes everything OK.

2. Good books. The trip to Powell's is long behind me but some of the books are still waiting to be read. I'm thinking of joining the Manhattan library this week so I can read the Bubbles Yablonsky books without breaking the bank.

3. Auntie Blanche. Granted she's gone now but she has, perforce, been on my mind a lot lately. I was incredibly lucky to have her.

4. Friends who feed me. I've been trying to be good food-wise lately in service of shaving off the 7lbs that have crept back on. I'm so bored with the things I'm willing to eat and to cook for this losing streak. Kath got ambitious and we made Thai summer rolls for dinner on Thursday and it was so good I could have wept.

5. TV, baby. I try to cut down and I think I have and yet I love the stuffing out of TV. Mad Men's 3rd Season premiere, the Season 1 recap of Sons of Anarchy, Saving Grace's summer stint, the final season of Monk. I may be hungry for food but I am full to the brim with glorious teleplays.

6. Facebook. Feel a little odd putting this one on but it has connected me with so many people from the past lately and my summer has been chock full of bridges crossed that are enriching my days so, for all its evils, it's doing right by me.

7. Safely coming through. Blondie Girl and MG have both had some fairly serious surgery lately and I'm immensely grateful that they've come through it all OK.

8. New York Goddamned City. I live elbow to elbow with some of the best things on earth. Museums, shows, food, people, there's so much here and I get to gorge at the buffet.

9. Friends with membership privileges. The buffet ain't free but I have friends who are members of some of these organizations and, as a result, I can sometimes piggyback. Thanks to one of those friends I was able to go to a really important (for me) exhibit this weekend and not break the bank.

10. The World Wide Interweb. It's been pissing me off lately but I'd still be lost without it. I can't wait for the next step.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pop Goes the Movie

Last couple of days I've been popping up at Please Pass the Popcorn. Interested in what I have to say?

I Don't Know Jack (Or Bonnie)

Anyone who knows me can attest that I know next to nothing about music. I can read music, I can play it and sing it, I have the very vaguest idea about music theory but ask me about a band, pretty much any band, and I'll be completely clueless. One time I brought this gorgeous song to C-ann that I so wanted to sing. I'd just discovered it on the soundtrack to Practical Magic.

It was Joni Mitchell's Case of You (first released in 1971).

I am perpetually a little behind the times. Just by 40 years or so. I love music, I just don't absorb it in the same way that some people do. I know so many people with encyclopedic knowledge of popular music throughout my lifetime and beyond. They are constantly adding to it with new bands and genres and songs. There's no way I'll ever catch up. So I generally just try to grab onto something I like as it whistles by me in the wind.

About a decade ago Bonnie Raitt whistled by thanks to Pony Express. I have continued to love her work but haven't learned a whole lot about her except that she's a classic and to be respected. She's currently on tour with Taj Mahal and I caught her on Craig Ferguson's show. The mix was terrible and you could tell she was pissed but it was still a great performance, reminding me to get back to listening to her. Right after that Courtney made Raitt the subject of Thank You Thursday on Feministing and I finally managed to learn some more about her.

She is and was an activist of some note in service of social justice causes. She has studied and performed with a variety of legends of music in many genres. She went to Harvard. My favorite quote from the piece is, "In a time when so many white musicians seem to take what they want from historically black music and then promptly get amnesia about where it came from, Raitt has always honored her influences." If you're looking something to listen to you're probably way ahead of me and already have Raitt in rotation but in case you haven't...allow me to recommend a classic.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

'Til Death Do Us Part

I missed my blogiversary in July. It's Bastille Day for heaven's sake, how hard can it be to remember? But I didn't. I thought I'd celebrate on the one month past mark but I missed that, too.

Interestingly enough it was my 5 year anniversary. My anniversary with JAM was in April. On our fifth, I believe, we were sitting on a subway going nowhere special about 8 days later and both looked at each other and realized that we'd completely forgotten our anniversary. We get some points for at least not coming out and saying right then that we didn't like each other very much. So I pull the same thing on the 5th anniversary of my blog. It took me and JAM another year or so to break up so I think I'll be sticking around here despite the fact we just don't appreciate each other the way we used to. Maybe for more than another couple of years.

The lesson for this year of blogging seems to be something about opposition, conflict, downright meanness. Some of that can be attributed to the election, certainly, but not all of it. Though perhaps the heated discussion of that time opened a door I had unknowingly kept shut up to now. In the past month I've had people just poking me, poking me, poking me to see if they can get a rise. My playground instinct tells me to keep my mouth shut and let their bullshit pass because all they want is a reaction and a reaction will fuel more interaction which I don't want. So far that instinct is panning out because when I do break and lose my temper, no matter how justifiably, it's like flipping off a bully on the playground I just get pounded back in a hundred different maddening ways. (Stay tuned for a post on women and the right to be angry.) Sometimes I tell myself it's a consequence of larger readership but, to be honest, my readership just isn't that large.

Loyal it is, though, and thank the good web for that. I've got an exciting new blogging opportunity on the horizon that I'm especially looking forward to sharing with those of you who have been so kind to me over the past five years. With luck that will bloom in the next couple of weeks. The only only other thing I could wish for is a virtual 'kick me' sign for my enemies but that would be childish and I'm trying to grow up. At least a little.

Thanks for coming to play on my playground. I've got next on the swings.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Virtue, Thy Name is Kizz

A couple of weeks ago a friend mentioned on Facebook that she was donating things to the NYC textile recycling program. I thought that sounded really nice but didn't look it up on the internet or anything. Walking through the greenmarket that weekend I noticed a textile recycling stand. Panic! How long would he be there? He was coming back this week, today in fact. So I went home and did nothing about it until around 9:30 last night. I took the small bag of Salvation Army-bound stuff that had been sitting in the front closet for about a year and I rifled all the closets for more to add. Ended up with two full laundry bags of textiles to be donated. Huzzah!

This morning I put all that in my granny cart and hitched up the dog and headed the six blocks to the park. Picture it if you will, granny cart with no steering mechanism, laundry bags spilling over the top of said cart, dog who is afraid of things with wheels. Six of the longest blocks of my life. Longer for the dog, probably. I would like to publicly thank the mother with her child and her purchases neatly stowed into her stroller with the expensive and working steering mechanism for playing chicken with me on a particularly iffy stretch of sidewalk. I hope some day I'll be able to return the favor.

The down side here is that my apartment looks like my closets threw up and I didn't give up nearly as much stuff as I probably should have. I am, however, wearing an outift comprised entirely of things I forgot I owned. Also, I'm not spending my Saturday cleaning up. I'm going to MoMA to see this exhibit which should hit me right between the eyes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Abby

On the way home on the bus I heard a woman tell a young girl (maybe 6 or 8) to whom it turns out she had no relationship at all, "Nobody stays with you forever except mommy and God." Whether you believe that or not, and I for one see a few holes in her logic, that is a pretty serious frakkin' lesson to be laying on any little girl much less one you don't even know!

I Found Your Father

Lillybainne has been tossing around some quotes from the founding fathers lately. I've been thinking about them so I figured, in case you needed something to fill your gazing-into-the-middle-distance moments today you might be able to use these.

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

- Thomas Jefferson

"A mob's a monster, heads enough but no brains."

- Ben Franklin

And this last one has been on a poster in the subway for months now just screaming at me to think about it, think about it and think about it some more. So I do.

"If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it."

- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Need to Date Carrot Top

Bear with me. I have thought this out, you know.

First let me dispense with your arguments. The steroid thing is disturbing, I'll grant you that. I'm counting on being able to talk him out of it or at least down a little. Also counting on a non-Andre the Giant outcome. There's the plastic surgery too, I know. It's distressing. I've looked at a lot of pictures, though, and it seems like if I can find a better brow person for him it will help things considerably. It's a crying shame that he felt the need to annihilate the charmingly goofy freckled thing he had going on but perhaps that speaks to something broken on the inside that needs to be fixed. Forgive me for going all Wolowitz on you but I think I can work that to my advantage. If you've got a problem with his comedy I just want to be sure you've checked in with him recently. When I saw him on the guest list for Craigles I was, dare I say, a little disappointed but since it was Craig I watched and, you know, he's not bad. I remember watching him back when Comedy Central was just a channel that showed 24 hours a day of clips of stand up comedy. It was not my kind of thing back then. His stuff feels a little smarter now and I'm interested to see a little more. The "Porn Star Application" was inspired, in my opinion. Is that it? That's all the highlights at least so let's move on to the Pro column.

He's got good hair. It's crazy but in a good way. He is, apparently, pretty smart and has used those smarts to market himself into a long term contract in Vegas for a show that people regularly walk out of saying things like, "It's the best show I've ever been to that I didn't want to go to." He's straight from what little I can tell on the internet. So that's one thing over a lot of guys I find attractive. I'm actually counting the living in Vegas thing (at least for the next 5 years of his contract) as a positive because I'm kind of a separate bathrooms sort of a girl.

OK, ok, I know, so far no reason to go knocking down his door or stalking him on Facebook or sending homemade props in the mail. The thing is, and I know this sounds a little crazy-go-nuts, I think he could really help my mother. Stick with me a minute. My mother is a hoarder. Her house (and several other receptacles) are, quite literally, full of stuff. Little stuff, big stuff, broken stuff, old stuff, new stuff, weird stuff, normal stuff, useful stuff, ridiculous stuff, sad stuff but a whole barrel of stuff is what I'm saying. Carrot Top makes his living taking stuff and turning it into funny stuff. How inspiring would my mom's house be for him, right? The guy does a minimum of 30 minutes per night of one liners about props he's made. He has eight trunks of visual aids on stage for his show. Clearly he is always in the market for more building blocks. My mother, of course, has trouble letting go of stuff. I can't believe I felt that needed its own sentence but there you go. It helps her, though, if the stuff is going to be useful to someone else. I'm not saying he'd be able to talk her out of the heirlooms or even the expired canned goods but, for instance, the 50 empty Pringles cans from the make-your-own-rhythm-section phase might find their way into his trunks, if you'll pardon the expression.

Which is what led me to the cold truth that I need to date Carrot Top. It's the only way I'm going to help her out with this house thing and she needs help. No time like the present, I just need to get tickets to his show and find myself a nice novelty thong to throw onstage.

Maybe my mom has one I can borrow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Classical Edition

william shakespeare
see more Lol Celebs

No offense to her. We are, none of us, holding a candle to Billy Shakes.

Nearly Wordless RIP Wednesday

I've been working on a project for Fort Greene PUPS. In conjunction with a web site redesign (not yet live) I'm uploading our archive of photos to Flickr. I hadn't considered what a walk down memory lane it would be. The two that hit me hardest are these. Cameron is above being incredibly easy going and cool. Burt is below putting up with being washed but probably because he thought it was too darn much work to move. Miss them both immensely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


All Hands On Deck Please! My friends, Zoe Klein & David Paris, are performing on America's Got Talent tonight. Voting goes on from 11pm - 1am Eastern time and I'd be grateful if you could lend your support. I'll update this post when I've got the details on how to vote. THANKS!

UPDATE: Zoe & David (Paradizo Dance) were brilliant and breathtaking tonight. The easiest way to get to see them perform again is to VOTE so they can move on to the next round. Call 1-866-602-4806, toll free from land lines, if you're on AT&T you can text VOTE to 4806. You can also vote via internet here. (Brief registration required.) 10 votes allowed with any method. Please help Brooklyn represent!

Love Is Elsewhere

I wrote about (500) Days of Summer over at PPP today. Couldn't fit this favorite photo from Google Images into the post, though. Good thing I have my own blog, huh?

10 Things Watched

I suppose I ought to put this over at PPP but I'm not going to. I've got something else to go up there today, as soon as I slot in all the links. Here I give you the last 10 things I got from Netflix.

1. Mrs. Parker & The Vicious Circle - made me want to drink copiously, copulate vigorously and spill out incredibly witty things every time I open my mouth. Wish me luck.

2. The Constant Gardener - I spent far too much of this movie trying to remember Liam Neeson's name. Even though I knew it was Ralph Fiennes in the lead role I became inexplicably afraid that it was he who was married to Natasha Richardson and that he'd done a movie where his wife died catastrophically right before his wife died catastrophically. Didn't happen. My brain made that up.

3. Cranford - For a BBC/PBS costume drama series this is both the funniest and the most depressing thing I've seen in a long time. Funny people having tragedy befall them is still sad it turns out. However, this cast doling out the horror was worth every second. I [heart] Dame Judi Dench and that's all there is to it.

4. Weeds Season 4 - Oh how sad am I that I do not have Showtime and am not immediately participating in the current season? So sad!

5. The Matador - Well, that was weird.

6. Imagine Me & You - A nice little love story where Sarah Connor does not wander in with a semi-automatic weapon and spoil the proceedings. They're spoiled entirely differently. Bonus points for Best Modernization of The Running At Each Other Through a Field of Daisies.

7. The History Boys - This movie, this concept, these characters could not happen in America. I'm surprised they even released the movie in America much less had the play garner so much acclaim. It's a lovely but tough ensemble story that made me a little less proud to be an American even though that topic never comes up in the film.

8. Marilyn Hotchkiss's Ballroom Dancing and Charm School - This had the potential to take quirky and use it to bore a hole right into your heart. Sadly that didn't quite happen.

9. Skins Volume 2 - I want Volume 3 right now. I am greedy. It's Dawson's Creek for the UK, I get that, and I love it. If you like the characters you'll be able to tolerate the iffy quality of large chunks of the series. Much more honest than most teen dramas, though, and terribly endearing.

10. Aurora Borealis - It's unclear to me how a family/coming of age drama with Donald Sutherland, Joshua Jackson and Juliette Lewis could wind up going straight to video. It is not a fabulous movie and yet it's a good story, tightly written and acted right out of the park by a quality cast. Deserves theatre space way more than, for instance, You, Me & Dupree (no offense meant).

Whatcha watching?

Monday, August 10, 2009

At Left

Here's one thing I didn't mention in my review of this movie over at PPP: the end made me weep. Took me a long time to stop, too.

P.S. Dear Wordpress, Please note how when I asked Blogger to put the picture on the left it actually wound up there. Look into it. Kizz

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I open the door and hold it for him, his arms are full of laundry. His lip curls up in something that might be a sneer and he says, "I never seen you without your dog."

I mumble something about how it's bound to happen once in a while and smiled in case it wasn't a sneer and went inside thinking about how my dog might see it differently. Not only my dog but me, too. I feel as though I never spend enough time with her, especially as she gets older. The cats are always elbowing her out of the way, it's too hot to snuggle her and I'm trying to make sure that I go out and do things, be more social than I probably am at the core.

Earlier at brunch LK said, "How do you do it? How do you live the single girl lifestyle and still go out and everything and still have a dog?"

Again, I don't feel that's true. I hardly ever go out and I'm always bargaining for the timing or the location of events so I can walk my dog, especially, you know, as she gets older.

It's all in the perception. What I see is almost never exactly what anyone else sees. Especially not when they're seeing me. What do you see when you look in the mirror these days? How does that vision shift when you're reflected in another human beings eyes?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

"I've never been a millionaire but I just know I'd be darling at it."

Posting these photos here and on Flickr is almost the only productive thing I've done today.
Apparently yesterday kicked my ass a little more firmly than I first calculated.
And I watched this movie, which is not exactly the most motivational piece of media. I might need to take to my bed with a gin and tonic. As long as no one goes crazy with the tonic.

Friday, August 07, 2009


I was at a party a few weeks ago where I didn't know many people. A lot of the guests were my age and kids were welcome. Queen Bee was there as my party partner and we kept to ourselves but made polite overtures when we could, meeting some lovely people of all ages.

As we sat down to eat on the deck a harried woman with wild eyes asked if she could sit with us. She dropped her plate on the table and whipped a suspicious glare over each shoulder before sitting down. She introduced herself, explained that she was starving and making sure that her kids were OK before she sat down. Without pausing for breath she asked if we had kids. I conveniently had my mouth full and let Queen Bee answer since she has kids and I could tell that was the answer Harried was looking for. They talked a bit, I chimed in, we moved on to how we knew the hosts and where we lived. Turns out Harried and Mr. Harried used to live in NYC (Upper West Side). I made the bonehead move of asking what prompted them to leave. Usually that's a segue into what she and/or the husband do for a living smooths over the potential awkward moment where they try to see if you're anti-SAHM but this time it backfired. I could be forgiven since the Upper West is a well-known haven for the family-oriented.

"Oh," she replied, "we wanted to have kids and raising kids in the city..." I admit, I raised my eyebrows just a touch, "I mean, I didn't know where anything was for kids, not even a playground." And then she just whacked the last coffin nail home with vigor, "You just don't notice that stuff if you don't have kids." I'd like to think that the weight of my interested stare made her voice waver the tiniest bit at the end but that was probably my imagination.

I think you'll all be proud of me that I didn't swallow the bait and her judgemental face all in one enormous gulp. I saw Queen Bee's eyes widen a little, wondering if she should bring the car around to make our getaway more clean. I could have named Harried at least three playgrounds on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and more in my own neighborhood. I could probably also name her a good kid-friendly breakfast joint, a music school, a museum, an ice cream shop and a gymboree within seven blocks of her old abode. I'm not special. I'm barely holding my own at slightly above average. I'm not saying that I'd be the world's best parent just because I know where the swings and the strawberry butter and the dinosaur skeletons are. Those things do not make or break the parent or no one would ever make any money on kid-friendly [insert name of city, town or region] guides. I'm just saying that shooting a human being out of your whangdoodle doesn't improve your eyesight. Or your manners, apparently.

Fortunately at this point her youngest picked up a lego and she had to intervene. She hoisted him up by the armpits, trying not to touch him with her BBQ-sauced hands, and plopped him down by some more age-appropriate toys, all while disparaging the nearby parents for allowing the toys at all, even for the properly lego-aged among us. Hearing that we realized we were finished with dinner and with our conversation so made our excuses to go help clean up.

I watched Harried off and on all night. Her husband was around and they were both helping all three of their boys make s'mores. She didn't seem to be enjoying herself, though. I don't know her well enough to say for sure so maybe she was having a bad night, maybe she can't take having her routine upset, maybe she would have done better with two kids or with girls or a different husband who helped differently, maybe she banged her funny bone really hard that morning and it set her whole day off track, I'll never know. From the little I saw, though, she was one of those parents who does it where, how and because you're supposed to, not because it's something she really wants to be doing. There is, however, no polite way to tell a stranger that unlike real estate parenting isn't location, location, location.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Danke Schoen

I'm buying myself a DVD tomorrow. Go here to find out why.


My experience with the West was a little unexpected. I did have a good time and, since I spent a lot of that time on my own, I was able to do as much exploring as a I wanted to. I tried to sprinkle in everyday things as well as more traditional sightseeing fare.

I expected the pace to be different from the Northeast. As I think I've said, I expected it to be slower and I did try to adjust but never quite got there. I didn't expect it to be quite so aggressively slow. Not only do other people operate at the lesser pace but they insert things that require you to slow down, whether you are able or not. When I purchased my train ticket for Seattle it took the agent a long while to even notice me. When she did we talked about where and when I wanted to go and she took my debit card and my ID. First she input my ID information and handed me back my license. Then she halted the transaction process entirely to tell me a story. She didn't know that a friend was circling the block to pick me back up and I found out hours later that the train boarding process out there is entirely different so her story was meant as a cautionary tale but at the time it was just someone refusing to either process my request or to multitask.

Speaking of the boarding process, it's so not the same as it is here on the East coast. Here you buy a general boarding ticket and it gets you on the train. You choose a seat in a coach car and as the train pulls out the conductor comes through the car collecting tickets. When s/he takes your ticket s/he puts a little marker above your seat that lets other conductors know that you have paid and what your destination is. Out West you have to arrive early and wait in a line to see the conductor at a desk in the station. He assigns you a seat then based on the number of people in your party, the fullness of the train and, apparently, his own morals and values. I got an aisle seat at the front of car right behind the baggage. Then you wait in another line/mob for the train to be ready to board and you go find your seat. If you don't like it you can choose to spend your time in the club car I guess, which is what the guy in the window seat next to me did after he finished complaining about his assignment.

In Seattle I saw a lot of people, relatively late at night, standing on curbs at the edge of deserted streets waiting for the light to change so they could cross the street. I wondered if they also did that when it was raining, since I was lucky enough not to have even a drop of rain during my stay. Sometimes the lights were quite long. I didn't always wait. Talking with B, though, I learned of the steep jaywalking fine ($52!) and understood on some level why people chose to wait.

I got busted in the Seattle Art Museum for wearing my bag to the back, which happens here but usually only on crowded days. Also, the Eastern-based museum guards don't generally follow you to observe that you aren't surreptitiously swinging your bag into the forbidden position. Or maybe he just wanted to finish recounting for me The History of Bag Accidents in Museums (1995-Present) since I refused to let him complete even one sentence of it. The rules for getting into and out of the museum were also relatively stringent.

I remembered as I sat at dinner one night being told many years ago that Seattle has laws about serving alcohol in one's business, too. You have to, I think, devote a certain percentage of your space to the serving of food before you are allowed to serve alcohol in your business, so they don't have plain old bars. The bars in restaurants all seemed to be somehow delineated from the rest of the seating, often with at least a partial wall. I didn't research this so I can't confirm it but I remember being told about it a long while ago.

Parking regulations are apparently pretty rough. I didn't drive but TVMike drove me in Portland and Miss Rebecca drove me on our evening out and we spent a good chunk of time looking for a safe place to leave the vehicles in popular neighborhoods. They have the muni-meter system but, unlike here you purchase time and can move your car to another place anywhere in the city as long as it has the same parking regulations as the place you just left and you still have time on your card. I passed about 15 minutes of wait time at one point reading the instructions and regulations on a muni-meter machine.

I browsed a spice and tea store and would have bought a number of gifts but was out of cash and they only took cash. Before I remembered I was out of cash I did start the process. Then I noticed that the process had 5 or 6 steps and a clipboard and chart of minimum weight purchases by which I had to abide. It was then that I noticed the cash only, did an inventory of my bag and realized with relief that I didn't have to figure out how much of anything I could afford and if that corresponded with an allowed purchase amount.

Most of the people I know who moved out West, to Seattle in particular, did so in a bid for freedom. Now, I never quizzed them on what sort of freedom they were looking for. Freedom from what they knew, freedom from family, freedom from self-imposed restrictions were certainly among the reasons, though. So I expected a land of exquisite, limitless freedom, a glut of open boundaries and a chance to spin with my arms wide open wherever I wanted, metaphorically speaking. Instead I found a place with a lot of rules and a lot of rules in places I didn't expect to encounter them. I felt quite hemmed in which was the one thing I had thought for sure I wouldn't.

I can't tell you how glad I am to have gone on this trip. I had fun and I learned a whole lot. Even though it was a quick, domestic jaunt I think I'll be processing it for some time to come.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Rounding Up The Round Ups

This may not be of interest to anyone but you never know, so...why not?

I told you before that I often read the Blogher round ups from my current reads and wind up with more permanent blogs on my roster. Thank goodness there's no salary cap around here, unless you count the whole 24 hours in a day thing. I think I've got 10 round ups in my starred file, which would be right for a Tuesday. Let's see.

1. Sweet/Salty Kate incorporated Viggo Mortensen in her recollections. Turn your AC up before reading.

2. Sueb0b gave us a quick hit with her very own Most Embarrassing Moment of the conference.

3. Schmutzie's memories are almost all photographic (and in black and white!).

4. Here's Sueb0b again with some advice on Blogher attendance and more links.

5. I think this might have been NakedJen's first Blogher, though she's tried to attend for a number of years.

6. Childsplayx2 takes a page from the libretto of Fiddler on the Roof when he recounts his adventures.

7. Pioneer Woman made a little mistake. She was embarrassed by it.

8. M. Kennedy opted out of the conference in a sense but she still posted a wrap up.

9. Chicky exhausted herself but, I think, in a good way.

10. Heather B (who just lost her job, y'all, [it was a good thing really but still...]) rang in first, I believe of the recappers. She's a powerhouse. (OK, I can't get her links working, there's something wonky happening. You can google. She's No Pasa Nada online. She just moved so it may take her a couple of days to find out about the problem and to fix it.

Wow, I had exactly 10 just in time for 10 Things Tuesday. How cool is that?

10 Bright Stars In My Sky

Fair warning, a lot of this may be about health care because that's what a lot of people are writing about.

1. First, though, breakfast! Mihow's got cinnamon buns and they look delicious!

2. Other people are doing personal health care stories. Sharkfu over at Feministing is focusing on her family's fight for coverage for autism.

3. A graffiti artist illegally hung his own work in the Guggenheim as a commentary on the artistic merit of graffiti...and stuff. I found it interesting since I like taking pictures of graffiti, I think some of it is very interesting, but when I posted a photo a long time ago someone dismissed it quite huffily as vandalism with no room for debate.

4. Saintseester talks about where she thinks healthcare reform should start.

5. Health care is still a priority topic for DJ Blurb (and self-employed with 2 kids under the age of 6 and major medical concerns in the family why wouldn't it be?). He tosses off a couple of quotes, one quite funny if you try not to be made livid by it and the other thought provoking, at least for me. In an earlier post he talks about where he feels the "Blue Dog Democrats" have taken a turn for the crazy.

6. Madame X is writing about her friends who are in health care crisis from a financial perspective. She gives a few examples of how to help someone out when the medical bills (despite having insurance) begin to drive a friend to ruin.

7. Vanessa over at Feministing told us about a bill that may actually create some common ground in the abortion/choice debate in the US. I am skeptical yet intrigued. Earlier she reported of the moral dilemmas being brought to the fore by Nicaragua's total ban on abortions. It's far more complicated than one might think.

8. Over at The Womens' Colony (yes, I know it's cumbersome to have to add each room to your feed but I promise it's worth it) Melissa W. talked a little about Title IX and both how and why it's misunderstood. She made the math of it perfectly clear in a way I didn't know about, though many of you sports enthusiasts surely did.

9. The Governator continues to try and balance the budget for his large and troubled state. Recently he made the sweeping decision to cut all Domestic Violence Shelter funding. That's sure to go well. I mean, if a good chunk of those women and children die rather than get back on their feet you really start to see the balance sheet come back to center.

10. And, yeah, Michael Vick was unsurprisingly reinstated (and I was indicted by a conservative sports blogger for thinking he's an ass [and he used a deceptive quote, too, it was delightful]) to the NFL. No word on salary since no team has yet snapped this gem of a human up so I can hold out hope for his getting body slammed by the sport he claims to adore and doing it all for minimum wage. Surely, say, the Lions could afford minimum wage, right?

Monday, August 03, 2009

A Breath

I was patronized a lot last week, mostly, but not entirely, by men. The heavy sighing and head shaking (with chuckle) directed toward me must have been an enormous boon to the wind power industry. I am, as you might expect, in a deeply angry place. All the sarcastic foot-up-your-assery in the world isn't going to keep people from thinking I'm just an overly emotional girl who will, eventually, come to her pretty little senses, though. So I started thinking about other things to talk about, non (or at least less) angry things, and things that have been some neglected around here.

Shem passed away under ridiculously unfair circumstances and we didn't have our traditional Treats For Everyone! day (good breathing, good lying there on my nice shoes, oh what an efficient puker you are!). Joining Shem are two equally missed kitties, one the 20 year companion of my former mime instructor and another the less long lived but no less loved cuddler of a Canadian classmate from my London days. Sunny summer days and other pets in the house do nothing to lessen the emptiness of that kind of loss, even if you think you've prepared for it.

Chili's mother continues to struggle with the dying process. She's in a new phase of it now and we all wait on the edge of our seats to see how she copes. Good thoughts in her direction never go amiss.

A friend of mine was hit by a car last month and is still in the beginning stages of being put back together. I don't know many of her other friends and don't know her terribly well but enjoy her immensely and am working up the gumption to go visit her soon.

On a much more upbeat note than the rest of this, Zelda is making her stand up comedy debut. The evening begins at 8:30pm Central time, I don't know when she'll be up. She is understandably nervous but if you've spent even a short time in her presence you know that her ability to make people laugh with her is unparalleled. I only wish she also had the ability to teleport me to her location by 8:30pm Central time.

We're coming up on the anniversary of Auntie Blanche's death. I have been thinking about her spontaneously a lot but didn't examine the reasons for it deeply. I mean, hey, I miss her and thinking of her is pretty much par for the course when you miss someone. Her executor is quite efficient and checks to close out the Estate were received last week. I guess that explains it, too. I treated Pony Express and myself to lobster rolls to mark the occasion, you know, after I was able to tone down the crying and the rending of garments. Pony Express contributed a new alcoholic beverage that we have dubbed The Auntie Blanche (vodka, OJ, fresh raspberries, lots of crushed ice, blended to perfection and served in enormous water glasses, it's like a big kids' smoothie). Please go and ask for it in your local bar and scoff at the bartender when s/he hasn't heard of it.

It's sunny out and not too hot, the bosses are away and the work load isn't too bad. Seems as good a day as any to meditate on love, loss and laughter, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Aerobics of the Mind

I want us to do a little exercise here. I don't want to have a discussion about the arrest of Professor Gates. I want to agree that none of us was there and, while it clearly went poorly, we can't say how or why. I just want us to do a little exercise.

I want each of us to picture someone close to us. The closest person who is white, male, of above average education, with a home of his own, either owned or rented. This person should have a sense of his place in the world and an ability to express his opinions with no shyness about doing so.

Now picture that person coming home from a trip. It's night time and he may be tired, he may even have to pee. His key won't work and there is no one home to let him in. His cab driver stays with him to help him with the lock which may be quite nice and may be an added annoyance. After many frustrating minutes the police arrive and, on a credible tip, ask your person's intentions. They request proof of ID and residence and receive two forms of it. At least one form has his picture on it. At least one form has the address in front of which they currently stand on it. These answers are inadequate for the purposes of the police officers.

Please answer just one question - does your person lose his temper?