Sunday, January 31, 2010

Advice I Have Gotten About Dogs And Homes

I felt better with a dog in the house.

You'll know.

Don't get it unless you're sure.

It's OK if you're not ready.

Take your time, don't let anyone rush you.

Take pictures.

It'll be fine. Don't worry.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I went to my Camera Flash Made Easy class today. It was a long day for the brain and I didn't get a ton of sleep last night but it was fun. As predicted a learned a whole lot but really I just need to practice a bunch. More on that later. After I've fired my flash in your face about 160 times.

I had to scurry home, though, to grab keys and pick up the Maggie Dog for her overnight here. There were missteps and foolishness and my sweet Aunt Fanny it's cold out there. Not the sort of night where it's OK to screw up an address and go 3 long blocks out of one's way.

She didn't want to come with me. She tried to hide upstairs and I don't know these people and wasn't sure if anyone was home so there I was standing foolishly in the foyer not wanting to poke around the house, trying to decide how to convince her to come to me. She'd come just within tongue's reach to get a treat but she wouldn't descend the stairs completely. I finally tricked her. I rattled her food dish until she came into the kitchen, gave her a treat then grabbed her collar and leashed her up.

She was much better on the street. Well, better and worse. She was more of a puller when she wanted to sniff something but she was calm enough to make eye contact with me if I called her name and she accepted treats and love on the street.

The pet food store was closed which is really too bad since I don't have any food for her. I have some treats and I've got rice and I'm thawing some chicken. I'm pissed they were closed, I was sure they were open until 8! Tomorrow morning will have to include a trip to the pet food store, if not for food at least for treats.

I've concluded that, despite being a deeply nervous dog, she's actually quite brave. She continues to be interested in places and things even when she's frightened. She continues to stand her ground when the cats act foolish, while remaining properly wary of them.

The cats are a problem. They're a huge problem. As long as we all sit quite still they manage to keep quiet but as soon as anyone moves there's a lot of bushy tails and throaty growls and the occasional outright attack. I was trying to pet them as they stared at the dog while puffed out to thrice their size. That helped a bit, I thought, but then the dog went off to get a sip of water and they attacked her. She had to be rescued and I yelled. Nothing like a firmly mixed message I suppose.

I have to play this experiment out to the fullest extent. I have to try to sleep in my own bed instead of chickening out and sleeping on the couch. Tomorrow I have to get up off the couch and do the things that need doing around the place so everyone has to move about the place and pass near each other and not have it end in a blood bath. We'll also go out for a couple of longish walks to give everyone a break but co-habitation is key.

This whole process of deciding about a new dog is even harder than I thought it might be. In some ways helping Emily to die was easier because I asked for clarity and I knew her so well and I knew she was declining so I could make a fully informed decision. There are many more variables to this one. Not the least of which is that this particular dog really needs one human being on whom she can rely and when that happens I have no doubt that she will seemingly transform. In truth she'll simply finally be able to be her real self because she won't have to worry about everyone else so much. I'm pretty sure that self will be pretty darned cool but the more I get to know her the more I also think that she'll be fairly strong willed and not a little sneaky. Spoiled by my old dog I gave Maggie a half a large biscuit then brought the other half into the living room. I set it on the coffee table while I wrenched my shoes off and she, without even looking to me for confirmation, sniffed the second half once, tilted her head for the right angle and snarfed that fucker right down. She's smart. She knows what's for dogs and that she's a dog so she has a right to it.

She's not a lap dog despite being a great lap size. She'll get close but not really in your lap. She stood next to the couch for a long while so I could scritch her, which she loved. It also inspired me to consider testing my new showerhead, which I chose specifically for ease of dog washing.

Making this decision feels very lonely. I think that's part of why I'm feeling the need to share the process pretty extensively here. What in the name of Steve Jobs would I have done in the time before blogging? I know that making this sort of decision with someone else presents its own challenges. I know that I am capable of taking Maggie in and giving her the kind of life she needs. I also know that with her issues and with the cats' issues that project would be a long, intricate and perhaps all-consuming one for a while. Maybe a long while. My cats are stubborn.

I don't need to decide anything tonight. I just need to press on with the experiment. Tomorrow night, when Maggie is safely back on a bed in her current home, it'll be time to think on it some more.

Watch Me Bowl!

I did not take pictures at my birthday. I was too busy bowling and eating cake. Miflohny took some pictures and graciously agreed to let me post them. She never posts her photos to the internet, she sends them out by e-mail or gives hard copies always. In light of this I want to reiterate the common sense rule that you should not steal these photos. It's bad manners, it's borderline illegal and it will result in my being disallowed from publishing her photos ever again (my death, though unlikely, might also be a consequence of greed) so do not do it. Thanks.

This is the cake that Pony Express made me. We were working in very low light so you can't distinguish all the little details of its glory but you can see the majesty of it and the cool candles. I cannot stress enough how delicious this cake was. Three layers of chocolate cake and two different kinds of frosting, every morsel of it homemade. May you all be so lucky at your next celebration.
My parents didn't teach me to bowl. In fact I'm not sure I've ever been bowling with my parents. I was taught to bowl by a family friend whose wife worked on artistic projects with my parents. While they all worked on their thing we bowled. This birthday party bowling party was the first time I had the opportunity to pass along my ridiculous love of the activity to another generation. I got to help Little Seal shakily shove his first ball down the lane and I agreed to the detrimental 4th string of bowling because Alita was having so much fun we could not bear to cut it short. Getting to watch them enjoy it together, without my adult interference, was, as they say, icing on the cake.
Right here is a picture of my form. I've got decent follow through. It involves a relatively deep lunge and some specific work by that back foot. So what you're seeing up there is how I broke my butt. Still twinging weeks later. Totally worth it.

The rest of Miflohny's photos of the event are over at Flickr if you want to peruse our blurrily ecstatic birthday hootenanny.

Friday, January 29, 2010


Something odd happened to me a few weeks ago so I wrote it down and planned to share it with you. Forgot all about it until now.

Sitting in the window of a busy coffee shop on the Upper West Side. I saw a small, curly-coated, black dog streaking at top speed up the center of the north bound lanes of Broadway. I gasped but couldn't do anything. Not true. I could have abandoned my two bags and coat and run out after it. I might have caught up in time to see it flattened by an unwitting delivery truck. Or I might have run aimlessly around for long, cold minutes seeing nothing at all. I'm not very fast. Certainly not as fast as an armful of highly motivated pooch.

I waited, fingers crossed, breath held, tears standing in my eyes for the inevitable human pursuit. In the brief flash as he passed I saw a collar and blue tags shine against his coat.

No one came.

No swift-heeled child, no panicked senior citizen, no lithe young man or angry mother. No one at all.

There are, I suppose, plenty of perfectly reasonable explanations. The dog might already have changed directions so his pursuers were off on the wrong heading. Perhaps he'd escaped unnoticed from a sidewalk tethering or mishandled apartment door. Just maybe he does this all the time and is known to wriggle home safe by nightfall.

I can't shake, though, the deathly feeling of a complete lack of pursuit. It's no secret that I would have followed my dog, distraught, to the ends of the earth. I was fortunate in that she held the reciprocal conviction so we were rarely far removed from each other. I know plenty of dogs who, love for their people undiminished, are easily distracted and prone to adventure. And I know without a doubt that their people - terrified, furious, shocked - would be pelting down the street, unstoppable in their search if this misfortune befell their family.

Oh Little Dog Lost, you broke my heart. Come home safe.

And soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Other Words

I wasn't going to keep talking about the State of the Union but then I read this Anil Dash entry which weaves together that speech with the other big announcement in the media yesterday and I realized that I should talk about it as much as I had room for. Fortunately this is the internet and there's enough room for almost everything. Start there.

Then you could hit my friend Melanie's post over at The Colony about the two Os - O'Brien and Obama.

On a similar but somewhat weirder note (via Feministing) is basketball player Paul Shirley's in depth exploration of why we shouldn't care about Haitians and their problems. It got him fired from his columnist gig at ESPN which might speak well of ESPN. Then again maybe they were just spinning.

John Scalzi's piece about the SotU is so far my favorite and you should absolutely read it. (Short, easy to read, funny.) Quotes include, "[N]ote to wingers on both sides: expressing the opinion that Obama is not in fact moderate-lefty in the current US political spectrum, but is instead whatever thing you hate the most, is an IQ test in itself. Try not to fail it." and "Obama’s real problem is that in Congress, his allies are incompetent cowards and his adversaries are smug dicks."

If you can't stand any more about this mess we're in then I'll throw you a bone (heh). Go over and see what sort of a mess Aaryn got herself into the other day.

OK, that's it. You kids have fun stormin' the castle!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Never Before

I've probably admitted before that I've never watched a full political speech before so that's not new. On the other hand I probably haven't told you why. I have an anxiety problem. It's not diagnosed, it's not medicated, it's not debilitating but it is pervasive. It was its worst when I was a teenager and probably right around the time that most of you out there were first being exposed to politics and were asked to connect to the process. Triggers include but are not limited to nuclear power, nuclear war, otehr kinds of war and marriage. (Kidding.) (But about what?) Nuclear war and nuclear power were big deals in my teen years and they're just coming around on the guitar now, aren't they?

Is that an excuse not to have watched a full State of the Union until I turned 41? Could I not have worked out some coping mechanisms (lord knows I have plenty) and toughed it out since it's the adult thing to do? Yeah, probably. But I didn't and now you know why.

So I've got no practice talking about the hour and 10 minutes I just watched. The only thing I know for sure is that the minute he endorsed nuclear power my heart started to beat faster and I had to take a little walk around the room putting some things away while I kept listening. My head knows that nuclear energy is clean and safe and smart when handled correctly but my heart told my head to go fuck itself.

Did the President of the US make fun of people who don't believe in climate change (and therefore science)? I think he did. That felt chancy. Felt kind of good, too.

This speech cemented something I've thought for a while. I like that Obama doesn't please one side or the other completely. Of course he wrapped up his comments by reminding everyone that he never said the change would be easy nor that he could do it alone. I can't be the only person who remembers him saying that in other speeches both before and after his election. I mean, I didn't even watch all of them! If you honestly thought that Obama would significantly change the world in a year or less then you have even less experience of this world than I do. If you'll pardon my saying so, that's sad because I am a poor example.

His ideas struck me as FDRish, which I suppose is either wonderful or horrible depending on your perspective. I don't know a whole lot about FDR but he gave my grandfather a job and so far my family all still has our heads above water, even if just barely on some days, so I'm partial to him and his crazy New Deal. Plus, he made the Federal Theater possible and that makes my heart ache with joy and loss.

I'm sort of even listening to the Republican response but it's making my stomach clench. This man's demeanor feels combative and it's setting off all my anxious bells. After a speech that took both sides specifically to task for partisanship this slick little man is calling out Democrats specifically. Shouldn't that be offensive and poor politics to everyone? I live in New York State, our state legislature stopped functioning entirely this summer due to partisanship, I don't take that shit lightly. And neither should you, wherever you live. Earlier he said that government needed to be reduced and now he's saying that government "close to the people" is best. I can see where he's going with both of those but if you put them next to each other they seem wildly contradictory. And then he quoted "the scriptures." Well, sir, I hate that even more than I hate Obama's "God Bless the United States of America" bullshit. At the very least be more specific, which scriptures? Each religion has their own. Now I wish I hadn't watched, I may not sleep and I'm definitely going to cry.

Really, though, I started to write this to say something related but entirely different. I went through my reader a few months ago and swept out blogs I was reading out of obligation adn not enjoyment. A few of those were blogs where the author's political views were a. drowning my enjoyment of the other things they wrote and b. were clearly not going to change. Since then I've gotten myself on Twitter and the other day one of the authors I'd decided not to read started following me. That was weird on a number of levels since I don't think she ever read my blog but it prompted me to click over to her and read through some of the recent entries.

During the last Presidential election this writer clarified a bunch of things for me about conservative views. I remember her responding to something about government charity. I'm not sure how charity was defined during that conversation. She strongly advocated that the government not be responsible for this sort of thing that private funds should be used or at least that citizens should be allowed to choose how much they give to people who need assistance and that government should not, in essence, force us to give. The implication was that anyone who deserved to be saved (whoever that is) would be helped with this system and there would be less waste. It was a pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of discussion.

This week in going back to her space I discovered that her husband has lost his job and they may be facing foreclosure. I'm considering reading her regularly again because she may swiftly be facing the need for the sort of help of which she is skeptical. She's smart, skilled, motivated, strong and absolutely sure in her convictions so I feel as though she could be about to teach a big lesson about whether her plans will work. I want to know if she'll use government or private assistance and how she'll resolve this dip in circumstances. It's surely a dip, she'll be back on track soon, I have no doubt. But going back just to see how she resolves this misfortune feels like stopping to watch someone in trouble on the side of the road, it's rude and creepy and no help at all. I'll be thinking of her, though, because she's ground level, everyday America right now and she has a golden opportunity to explore the solutions all our political and media air bags are huffing and puffing about now.

I suspect they've got a lot to learn from her.

NWW: Then What Is?

If this isn't proof that I need that flash class then I just don't know what is.

(Music Boy after being extremely well-behaved during a marathon dinner with me, his dad and our long lost friend. You get your own mini photo session for your pig after something like that if that's what you want.)

NWW: St. Elsewhere

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails

I've got more images going on over at the Colony.

Also, please cross your fingers for me this evening. I spent most of last night working away to marry the Colony's Twitter feed (very sparse now, I know, I'm not going to tweet it up until I've solved this marriage) and Facebook page and it seemed to be going really well but it doesn't work. Going to have to try again this evening (*waves of dread*) so I can use all the good vibing you've got.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Many Again?

1. Forget a face transplant, I want a full sinus transplant.

2. Seriously, an educational institution banned the dictionary. The dictionary. California, do you not have enough problems right now?

3. I greatly admire Karen at Chookooloonks. She's made a plea on behalf of a friend whose relatives live in Haiti and are trying to rebuild their schools and the lives of the children in them.

4. For those of you chomping at the bit, I'm working on having Maggie come spend the night on Saturday. Jury remains out. Forcibly.

5. I know that there's a lot to love about Whole Foods. I agree that many things they make are yummy. Their CEO, however, is the Mayor of Crazyburg and needs to be attired in the appropriately buckle-heavy jacket.

6. I should probably write a whole post about this but I simply can't. Neil Gaiman is an animal lover. He has all sorts of animals and his assistant is deep into rescue work and everyone who comes in contact with him must enjoy the furred family. He has been chronicling the decline of one of the family's members and it's just heartbreaking but I can't look away. I miss Zoe and I didn't even know her. Godspeed sweet girl. This is just one of a few posts on the subject.

7. I love Julia Rothman's artwork and I know it's too expensive for me for the most part. I do so want this pair of of images (top of the link) for my new bathroom, though. Wouldn't they be perfect?

8. Breaking News: I'm hungry. The boss has a very important call that might come in and he's in a lunch so I've served him his lunch and can't go get myself anything because I must wait by the phone. First World Problem-Havers Unite!

9. I have added to my responsibilities over at the WC (look for a neat photography post tomorrow). Not a lot but I had to put the brakes on a little. I want to help, I want it to succeed but I'm really having trouble motivating myself to work my own list for 2010 and I've got to be careful about giving myself excuses to neglect it. Need to revisit the list a little, too. Look for that soon.

10. Last night I started Craig Ferguson's American on Purpose (Thanks Dad & P!) and boy howdy is he ever a great writer. I'm only 26 pages in so I guess there's plenty of time for him to become boring or trite or sloppy or a million other things but so far I'm damp with admiration at his use of form as function along with he grasp of content and drama. Did I need another reason to love him? Really, no. Someone please send night vision goggles and a burner cell phone, I'm low on stalking supplies.

Monday, January 25, 2010

And There Conclusions Were

It's windy and raining and I'm on the 37th floor and my current reading material is a memoir about crippling anxiety disorder. Ah, Mondays.

I added some photos over at Flickr last night. Things I've been doing this weekend and the finished Man Who Is Handy work.
I haven't put the joint back together yet because the whole idea seems overwhelming and no fun. Baby steps. I wiped down some shelves last night and emptied the dishwasher. I played with the spray options on the showerhead to see which one gave the best water pressure. I thought a lot about putting things away. It's the thought that counts, right?
Turns out that Jon guy defied all logic and wrote back:

I'm not sure how you garnered that from my comment. I remembered other reviews that made similar mistakes to the ones I noticed in yours while painfully and thoroughly raking through each word.
You misunderstood my very straight-forward comment. That's ... telling. 

But I'm tired of our back of forth. I've obviously overreacted to a mistake in your review, and you're obviously just as argumentative as me. 

The film is funny, yes?

I didn't write back because I am not as argumentative as he. So there! (Can you see me sticking my tongue out?)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Smarty Assy

Thanks to jrh's generosity and mad post office skillz I am reading Dooce's book, It Sucked and Then I Cried. I started reading the site in the middle of both her pregnancy and their housing remodel and I wondered how different the book would be from reading those posts in real time. Turns out it's a lot different. (This will not be a review of that book. Would you realistically assess Oprah on your fledgling talk show? No? Yeah, well, neither would I.) Something I'm finding interesting is how Heather almost never references her web site in the book. There will be tales that I remember being told on her blog and others I keep waiting for but she doesn't seem to mention the feedback she was getting back from readers or any of the hoopla surrounding some of the old posts.

This year for me has been a string of firsts in terms of things that happen when more people start reading your blog. Don't get me wrong, I'm still to blogging what Craig Ferguson is to the Late Night Wars but more is a relative term and therefore things happen. So there was the cunt controversy and the fact that I recently met someone online who happens to live so close to me that, with the curtains open, we can look into each other's apartments. Today marked a new one and I decided to explore it a bit, just for fun. (Read: To put off putting my apartment back together.)

In August I wrote a review of the movie Away We Go over at Please Pass the Popcorn. Until today no one had commented on it so I had no proof that anyone had read it at all. Fortunately I get all the comments on my posts over there e-mailed to me and I got an e-mail this morning with a comment from one Jon:

"They don’t go to Toronto. They go to Montreal. Maybe you should actually pay attention to the film before blogging about it.
Or was your error some failed attempt to seem laid back, yawning and indifferent? If so, nice work."

I hate when I make stupid mistakes like that. On the other hand it was a good review of the movie and it was written months ago so, why did he bother? Usually I'd leave this sort of thing alone. I mean, again, why bother? But I was ticked about something else so I re-directed a little aggression and wrote back:

"I'm curious about why you're so mad that I made a location mistake in a review of a movie that I really liked. Especially so long after the fact. I mean, I'm sorry, but not so sorry I want to track down tiny mistakes in other people's web sites and take time out of my day to comment months after the event.

Interestingly enough I was talking about Away We Go this weekend and made the same mistake again and corrected myself. Not sure why I keep thinking it was Toronto.

Thanks for reading our site!

It was probably too nice to provoke a response and truth to tell, while I'd have been interested in an apology I didn't want to create a huge dramatic opera out of a single note (see also: Cunt Controversy) so I went middle-of-the-road. Surprisingly, good old Jon took more time out of his day to write back:

"I had just re-watched the movie and remembered some of the negative reviews that made similar mistakes as yours."

Which is right about when I remembered that people really are assholes and not clever ones either. Couldn't keep myself from pointing that out so I tossed off a one-liner:

"So you made fun of me for not attentively watching a movie after not attentively reading my review. That's...telling."

And I expect it'll be left at that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Just Say Yes

I am not the person who stays up until 3 in the morning talking to an old friend. I try but I always poop out before then. Last night, though, a friend I haven't seen in 15 years stayed over and, for serious, we stayed up until 3 in the morning talking about theatre and college and old friends and TV. Lots of TV. Man, it was good to have her back.

She's gone now. Boo.

I need a nap.

But I'm off to dinner and a show.

The Year of Yes, so far, doesn't have a lot of room for naps. Going to have to fix that tomorrow.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wishes and Horses and Bucking Broncos

Sometimes....oh sometimes I wish I'd decided to blog fully clothed. I see swathes of dark velvet anonymity and they would be soft and warm and comforting.

But I didn't. I blog naked and I'm too lazy to change.

Which makes times like this really hard because...there's a lot of shit I'd be saying weren't reading. And there's some stuff I'm going to wind up saying anyway, it's just going to be quite the Bronc ride to get it out.

Short answer: I made myself a profile on

What's going on with you that you need to talk about but can't? Go anonymous if you want and tell me how luscious it is.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gold Star For You

The pieces have been piling up in my Google Reader's starred file so I thought now might be a good time to air them out.

1. Verizon is offering free calls to Haiti through the end of the month. There doesn't seem to be a qualifier for this and I have no idea, given the infrastructure damage, who is able to receive calls but it's a nice enough gesture toward helping family members and first responders to connect.

2. This post may not be one note but it may be in a certain key. The White House Blog posted a short piece by one of the US Military's first responders about conditions for their members in Haiti. It's nicely written and somewhat emotional compared to the blog's usual dryly informative fare.

3. My beloved Susie Bright pointed out a victory for conservative education in TX this week. How about these sample home work questions?

"Evaluate changes and events in the United States that have resulted from the civil rights movement, including... unrealistic expectations for equal outcomes."

"Explain how the release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government."

Go over to Susie's blog to read the good news that accompanies this horror.  

4. Feministing put up this fantastic lego ad from around the time I was playing with legos. Pretty big contrast to the monochromatic girl-focused ads of today, eh?

5. While we're talking about Feministing, they had a guest post from a disabled woman discussing the ways in which the disabled people's movement has emulated and benefited from the feminist movement's strategies. I don't know how many physically disabled folks you spend time with but I have a friend I hang out with every couple of weeks who had a spinal cord injury and now requires 24 hour care, though he lives independently rather than in a group situation. There are a lot of very small things (as well as very big ones) you just don't think about when you think about how his life is lived. It's a good thing to try and imagine, though, especially in light of our increasingly difficult health care battle. 

6. I know it's old news that America's favorite wolf hunter landed herself a gig on FOX news but have you seen the clips of her sportscasting in the 80s? Robin Sherbatsky would be proud.

7. Honestly I held onto this one because I'm baffled by the timeline. Also from Feministing there's a move in the Queer community to oppose the 2010 census...oppose isn't the right term. It's a movement to insert and re-work questions in the census to more accurately reflect the Queer demographic in the US. What I don't get is why it's happening now. Is there an expectation to change this census or is this looking to 2020? If it's expected to change this census then why now? Aren't the questions already formulated, approved and practically printed since I saw an ad this morning urging me not to fear the envelope in the mail and simply to send it back? Whatever the case, you can sign the petition, get tips for filling out the census and get a free sticker to affix to the back of your census envelope when you return it that supports the movement to more clearly represent Queer citizens in the census and that seems like a good idea to me.

8. I love the Got Milk campaign and I always have. I think the pictures are lovely and the words are clever. It's not enough to make me like drinking milk but I do like the campaign. So does Tracey over at Shutter Sisters and she fulfilled a dream of getting to shoot herself into an ad. She also linked to the current celebrity offerings from the ad campaign. I eagerly sopped them up but at the end realized that only one ad right now features a man and all of them feature the new "healthy weight" tag line as the only milk-based benefit in their composition. That kind of made me mad.

9. You know I don't talk about 9/11 a whole lot here which ought to be a clue to how I feel about this real estate ad (via Gothamist). Too soon? Yes. When? How about never?

10. Aaaaaand, in the world of the short sighted it's a good idea to arrest people for carrying condoms. Buy a 3-pack, get brought up on prostitution charges. That's going to put a crimp in your legendary 3rd date. Gonna be a great way to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections, too. In DC, no less.

11. In the same vein, in the trial of Dr. Tiller's (alleged) killer there has been a ruling that the defendant can plead to a lesser charge on the grounds that he had "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." There are no words to express my anger at this violent hypocrisy. Even if convicted he could be released in as little as 5 years. So, I guess in about 5 years you want to be pretty careful if you drop by a family planning clinic to pick up your 2-at-a-time condoms.

12. Christ, let's lighten things up with some scantily clad people. On the way home from my birthday party we encountered this fun annual improv event overflowing into Union Square. Man it was cold that day. I don't know how they did it.

13. Again, I recognize that it's old news but I cannot let pass any opportunity to point out what an arrogant, ridiculous, cocksucking bastard Rudy Guiliani is. Nope, no terrorist attacks with Bush at the helm, you know, except that eensy, tiny one that you bring up every time you open your truthless gumflapper.

14. Anybody want a cat for their bookstore? Comes available January 31, 2010.

15. Wow, I do go on, don't I? I'm getting tired but I'm not burnt out quite yet so just a couple more. While we're all trying to reduce, reuse and recycle big clothing corporations are apparently protecting themselves from illegal....wearing by destroying (not recycling, destroying with knives or hole punches) perfectly good yet unpurchased clothing.

16. I had heard briefly about Uganda nearly deciding to impose the death penalty in gay people. I did not know until recently that three American anti-queer activists were instrumental in bringing that possibility to the fore. Of all the things we export, and I include widespread genocide in my calculations, this might be the one I'm least proud of.

17. This article about inflated bonuses in the finance industry is hopelessly outdated by now. I'm throwing it in to say something I've been wanting to say for ages. The phrase "retention bonuses" is out and out stupid. All bonuses are "retention bonuses!" People decide whether to stay in a job based on many factors, money can be a biggie, and bonus time in the financial sector is a huge deal, even to lowly plebes like me. If you get a big bonus you're more likely to hang around, I sure did and I got my ass kicked by that job. During the 2004 election year I had the audacity to ask for a raise mid-year because I was doing all the work I'd been hired to do plus another half a job worth of PR work on behalf of the democratic party. To say that people disliked my boss's involvement in the election would be as understated as Jennifer Aniston's Golden Globes dress. I was denied, categorically, for the raise but in December my bonus was tripled from the year before. "Retention bonuses" is redundant, stop saying it and stop believing it when other people do.

18. OK, OK, shutting up now but let's end on a high note. This article (Susie Bright, yay!) on how intelligent lawmakers are counting the death penalty in the US as a failure on a number of levels makes me (very cautiously) optimistic.

What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NWW: Partners in Health

 Haiti had a serious aftershock this morning, as you probably know.
 I donated to Partners in Health last night. Doctors Without Borders is likely next.
There's also the possibility of adopting Haitian children. Not for me, probably, but for some of you perhaps. (Via A Little Pregnant)

NWW: Common

 Since I started working for The Women's Colony I've discovered The Commons over at Flickr.
 It's a collection of photos that are under no known copyright restrictions.
 I've found some of the most beautiful images there.
 For these my searches were (from the top down) kiss, circus, dogs, dance, beach. Yup, beach. Apparently those women are working in Long Beach.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Road Trip List

I've probably written this list a dozen times but what's one more if I'm already at 12? You know that road trip you (I) dream of taking? It's the one where you just pack your shit into your car (mistyped cat there, I'd fit a lot less into my cat) and take off. Perhaps you don't even tell anyone and perhaps you never come back from whence you came.

Then again maybe you do.

As of January 19, 2010 these are 10 things I'd see on my road trip:

1. Some sort of hometown parade. Preferably with a cup of lemonade and sitting on a curb somewhere in the blazing sunshine. Bonus points for participating Shriners.

2. Falling Water

3. Any Laura Ingalls Wilder location or museum

4. Mount Rushmore

5. The Grand Canyon

6. Baseball and lots of it at all levels

7. Redwood Trees

8. New Orleans and lots of it

9. Art Museums - Chicago, that one in LA whose name escapes me, anything I could lay my eyeballs on

10. A prairie. I want to stand somewhere that I can see only "waving wheat" in all directions.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh Well, You Know

 Bunch of renovation happened on my apartment and visited with Miss Maggie. I don't have more words about it but you can go look at other photos here. (Not many.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Item By Item

I've started to make THE LIST but feel stalled. Perhaps I'm having trouble concentrating. In any case I wanted to post this partial version of THE LIST and see if you could think of anything I've left off.

1. Say yes

2. Buy Flash - DONE

3. Write a book

4. Singing lessons regularly  - A friend has gifted me with a lesson with a teacher she loves, I'm looking forward to that as a good start

5. Perform

6. Fix house - TS comes tomorrow to start this, I'll post about what's happening, I promise.

7. Commit to writing and administration work for The Women's Colony for one year (I write twice per week and have agree to set up and oversee Twitter & Facebook for the site.)

8. Plan Italy trip

9. Renew passport

10. Go to Blogher - August, buy ticket by Feb early bird deadline

11. Write Aunt Rena once a week - made some cards for this purpose today

12. Sign up for some online dating site

13. Go on enough dates to judge the dating site

14. At least one session with the fabulous PT, Shelley

15. Write a Life List (per the Maggie Mason model)

16. Take Flash class (whoops, that should be up at #3) - January 30, I've signed up and been confirmed

17. Attend live theatre - already seen Let Me Down Easy and In The Next Room, am going to see the new Ping Chong piece next week, planning to see Reduced Shakespeare with Alita and her mom in March, and my boss is giving me tickets to my choice of show (and dinner) for me and a friend as a birthday gift. There's so much I want to see.

18. Mermaid Parade - June

19. Take Alita bowling

What else? There has to be more. Or does there?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Guinea Pigs

 The instructor's letter for my class specifies that you should please read as much of the camera and flash manual as possible. He doesn't say you should screw around trying the equipment out but I felt it was implied. I've read enough of the manual to know what all the buttons are called and to be able to attach the sucker to my camera. Oh, and turn it on. According to the manual you should hold the on/off button for .3 seconds to turn it on. Whew! Glad they specified. The cats (Elvis above and Anna below) have acted as unwilling guinea pigs. The powers of logic lead me to understand that the different directions I point the flash are the differences between direct light and bounced light. Also that what I bounce that light off of will switch things up visually. So I've been playing. In point of fact I have been hard put to pry the camera out of my hands. Of course logic and memory aren't always besties. As I was processing this first batch (there are a few more on Flickr) I realized that I hadn't changed the ISO and had been shooting at 1600 (Translation: 1600 is a way to get photos in low light with no flash and it can cause your photos to look kind of grainy.). So, now I've got it cranked down to 100 and I'll be playing around some more. LOOK OUT CATS! Seriously, don't come to my house unless you're comfortable having your picture took. I do love me a new gadget.

In other news I made a donation to Oxfam via The Women's Colony today in support of aiding Haiti. I donated either half or a quarter of what I'd like to donate depending on what total I wind up with. I'm thinking on where the other money should go. A Canadian friend mentioned a group that specializes in reconstruction after disaster and reminded me that often when funds for that sort of thing are required we've all moved on to the next crisis. So, that's a thought, too.

Anna says, "Quit fucking with my nap, bitch. If you're bored go get me some treats."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Up Then Down

I seem to have sustained a bowling-related injury. I seem to have aggravated it with class and rehearsal. I feel 41. Plus a couple decades.

However, I also have a flash. Knowing nothing whatsoever about how to use it I've shot a few pics and I already feel fancier. Can't wait to have the smart guy tell me what I'm up to.

Since I can barely rise off the couch why don't you tell me what you're up to?

P.S. You've got 89 minutes to hop on over to Chili's and wish her a happy birthday!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'll Never Be Your...

If you're looking for linear and coherent these are not the motherfucking droids you're looking for. There's a lot of thought here, though, if you can stand it.

I put my shoes on to go and I was fine. I went to grab some treats out of THE BOX and I burst into tears. I couldn't stop but I put one foot in front of the other and went to NDP's house. We waited for a long while watching Haiti coverage and trying not to cry.

Eventually Maggie showed up. She was nervous but food motivated and sweet, a little drooly but probably from the nerves. She explored some and she put up with Tim being defensive. She's about 45 lbs, her feet have the most exquisite markings. She'd recently had her tail docked. I'm not sure what happened but it had been injured and the injured part had to go. It's not cropped the way a rottie's is, it's more of a half-tail, a club. Her ears pop up all houndy on high alert like pony tails.
She's quick, she walks on her back legs. Her mother was a lab-shepherd mix. She was adopted at 6 months in Colorado and moved to NYC when she was around 2. She's about four and half now. She feels like a puppy. She leaped and bounded when we took her back to her boy but she still paid attention to me and NDP because we'd given her treats. Her boy is a personal chef and he travels a lot, at least 2 weekends a month and 2 months in the summer. I think it may be harder for him to let her go than he yet thinks. She's been off leash before in Prospect Park. She's afraid of loud noises. My biggest fear for her has actually been realized so it's something to be super careful of. She was tied to a bench once, got spooked by a loud noise and fled, dragging the bench behind her, many blocks across busy streets and into the park. She spent the night there before she was recovered. I walked her home tonight and Mike said she was being way more pully than she usually is but she was still one of the best dogs I've ever walked. She corrects easily. She doesn't seem to scavenge.
I'm insisting that I sleep on it before I decide or do anything. If I were a YES person she'd already be home with me. I'm a yes person, though, and this is a huge deal for me. She's furniture - once she's in place she stays, I can't do that lightly. So part of me is actively not thinking of it. The other part of me is thinking she'll see if Maggie (did I tell you her name is Maggie?) can come to visit on Monday, which is a holiday so I'll be home. The big hurdle is the cats. I'm told that Maggie defers to cats and has made friends with the tough Brooklyn street cat who shares her house now. Elvis taunts out of fear and if a dog engages he fights, which is horrible. So a visit Monday and if that goes well an overnight and if that goes well....Bobby is coming to stay for 4 days the first weekend of February, I think it'd be wise not to commit permanently until after that but...but...visits and if they go well...
It hurts to even say it but she feels...familiar, which is conversely comforting and I can't ignore that.

Now With More Ranting

There is this woman who I encounter regularly. She is devoted to her church and her Catholic faith. She tithes, she runs holiday programs, she is active in that community and she does all those things with her customary attention to detail.

Yesterday the internet blew a small incident at Grand Central Station out of proportion. There was a suspicious package, procedures were followed and the whole shebang was over in about half an hour, though it did include an evacuation of the premises. The internet (Twitter in particular) took the initial evacuation to the wires and had escalated the whole thing to a dirty bomb threat while the established news media was silent because this wasn't news. As I was getting to the bottom of this all I mentioned it to her and she was willing to believe immediately that it was a dirty bomb and to change not only her course of action for the day but her boss's and mine on the slim information we had received at that time.

Today I mentioned the earthquake in Haiti. I had just seen video footage of it and was amazed at the magnitude so I asked if she'd seen it. She had, wasn't it awful, etc. Then she told me that, despite her family's desires, she was holding off donating because she wanted to wait and see where the money was going. Remember when the Red Cross said money was going to Katrina and it didn't, she told me. She went on to wonder if France had ponied up some money yet....for it's former colony? I don't know where she was going except that French is spoken in Haiti so....they're responsible for it? Furthermore she knows there are a lot of Haitians in Brooklyn (indeed there are, many of them in my neighborhood, I expect the local Haitian Baptist Church will be raising funds and helping locate family members for a long while) and she wants to know if they're giving to the effort. Her tone of voice suggested that she suspected they were not. At least not enough to satisfy her calculations, whatever those may be.

Is it any wonder that I'm skeptical about organized religion and its followers? I may not know a lot about Jesus and his supposed teachings but I'm pretty clear on the fact that he would not ask you to question the actions of others, he would be more interested in having you question your own. He would, if I'm getting all this right, not have you ask, "Why isn't so-and-so donating?" and would instead have you examine, "Why aren't I?"

If there was ever any chance I'd become a regular church goer (and there wasn't) it was snuffed out not by Pat Robertson's money grubbing misinterpretations but by this one intense follower for whom charity beyond one's self is unthinkable.


On my way home every night I wait for the elevator and look out at the Empire State Building. Usually the top tiers are lit up in different colors according to special events and holidays. I can see the flashes of tourists taking photos from the observation deck and count each flash as lucky. Last night was the first time there was nothing. In support of Haiti and the Haitian people, I'm sure.

Wyclef Jean has set up direct relief efforts to which you can donate $5 by texting.

"Cell phone users may make a $10 donation by texting the word "HAITI" to the number 90999, The donation will appear on the user's cell phone bill." I haven't done extensive checking on the veracity of this but I did get a notification via Twitter from the Red Cross saying that the cell phone companies do not take a cut of this, the full $10 goes to the Red Cross specifically for the Haitian relief effort.

This post via San Diego Momma details a few ways you can help, including Unicef. Baldsug's company works with Unicef and he has also recommended it as a safe and reliable way to assist.

If you're interested in what the White House has to say and do at this time, it's here.

If you're interested in what Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh have to say then you should be heartily ashamed of yourself and hope to all that is holy that you're never in a position to require international aid.

I woke up this morning to no hot water. It made me cranky just because I had to go out in the world and look presentable and I feel wrong in my skin and ashamed of my wild hair. Hard to work up a good head of steam on the topic, though, given that people are trying desperately to dig strangers out from under rubble with their bare hands.

Let's be careful out there. And kind.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Useful

Worrying means they're in our hearts and minds but they're probably going to need some more practical help. Here's what I've found thus far:

via @kdiddy, a list of organizations providing relief.

via dooce, a post of 6 things you can do for Haiti.

via my good friend Mel, the site for assisting a school she has worked with. The school always needs help but now it's sure to need more.

If you're like me you always feel a twinge at donating to places that claim to be mobilizing so quickly. I fear that too much of my money will go to administrators and not enough to help the man I saw bleeding in that photo. So I check out Charity Navigator to see how each organization stacks up and where it sends its donations.

Keeping them in our hearts and minds is still important, too, I'm not knocking that at all.

NWW: Worrisome

I'm worried about Haiti and the people there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yes, Yes, 10 Times Yes!

1. I said yes to meeting this lovely little Rottie mix. She's an omega dog, she's in a workable but not wonderful home situation and we're meeting on neutral ground Thursday night around 6:30.

2. That fourth string of bowling. Alita deemed my bowling birthday brunch "Best. Brunch. Ever!" She was  having a super time and really wanted to bowl one more string. Well, how could I say anything but?

3. Dinner on my birthday with Kath & Alex at the lovely little Italian place around the corner from my house. Then I said yes to bow tie pasta with salmon and a pink cream sauce. Delectable. Thank you for dinner Kath!

4. Home renovations. Before Christmas I asked Tom to come and do an estimate. When I got the estimate after the new year it was less than I expected and yet seen in print seemed like so much. (Under $2,000 to fix a lot of wonderful little things around the joint. It's a reasonable, nay, superb price for the issues at hand.) I finally said yes and today we went shopping at Home Despot for some of the materials. I'm excited!

5. The flash class at ICP I've been wavering about. Have yet to be able to sign onto the site and sign up, I really hope it isn't filled but I've been trying!

6. Buying the flash outright. I can do it.

7. A generous birthday gift of a singing lesson with a highly recommended teacher. It seems like way too much and yet my friend offered genuinely and I really want it so I said yes and took steps to take her up on it.

8. New boots! I bought my Blundstone's on Friday, got fancy shearling insoles for them, too.

9. My delicious, long sleeping bag coat of comfort and joy.

10. I'll admit this last one might be the dark side of The Year of Yes but it's the truth and I had to tell you the truth. I said yes to spending hours this weekend scanning old photos and posting them. I was supposed to be writing or cooking or doing laundry but I really wanted to do this silly little thing and it was my birthday weekend so I said yes and did it. And it was fun.

Monday, January 11, 2010

This Is Not The List You're Looking For

I haven't managed to set up a list for 2010 yet. I've been going in another direction. Shutter Sisters has a One Word project which helps photographers focus their shooting goals month to month. It's also something people use to focus their lives either on a monthly or yearly basis.

I didn't mean to choose it but when they mentioned it at the beginning of the year I started to think about it. The first word that popped into my head was "yes." The next one was "NO!" As in "Good god, no, I can't do that!" So I kept thinking about it for a while and trying to think of a different word, a better word, a more comfortable word.

I didn't find one.

So I concentrated a bit on how I could manage to focus my year around "yes." As I've told some of you privately I think the purpose of the exercise is to go for it full force, to reach for "YES!" If I'm perfectly honest I do not think I'm capable of "YES!" I might be capable of "Yes." I can certainly point in that direction. For the record, though, if I manage "yes" I'm calling it a success.

When I said all this to jrh she said, "Do you feel you don't say yes enough?" I do not. And when I do I tend to wait so long that saying yes is moot. I panic, I try to think through all the eventualities, I don't feel I can so I can't even try. If I concentrate on saying yes maybe I can get to do and see and feel a lot of new and interesting things. Things I like, deserve and maybe even need.

Audio Girl said, "Does that mean if I ask you to go out all night and drink like a fish on a weekday you have to say yes?" No, I replied. Absolutely not. To me it means paying attention to what I really want to be doing with myself both day to day and over the superarc of my life and saying yes to things that will further those designs.

You guys, I'm not going to lie, it's fucking scary. I'll give you a list of things I've said yes to recently tomorrow but tonight I'll give you just the one to whet your appetite.

Tonight someone convinced me to meet a dog. She sounds perfect. I don't know if I want to get another dog yet. It makes me sad to even think of it. And yet...I said yes to meeting her because I want to meet her. She's a lot of things I love about dogs and she's in a situation where I'm able to say no thank you. I didn't say, "YES! I'll take her bring her and her leash and her bowl to my house immediately!" But I did say, "Yes, I'd really like to meet her. When can I do that?"

So, yes. This year, yes.

Hold me!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Got My Scanner Working

  It's not wirelessly doing anything but I've proven that wireless is simply beyond our reach right now.
Scans just fine, though. Many stories forthcoming. As well as more photos.
The scanned set at Flickr is here.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Kitty Wants Her Own Tiara


Also, 41.

Final Minutes...

...of 40...

...stay tuned for 41...

Friday, January 08, 2010

Title Of Song From Les Mis

This is the last day that I am 40.

I think going back to Floor Barre for the first time since before Christmas will likely highlight that fact with excruciating clarity. Since it's snowing out (and I'll be within 3 blocks of the shoe store) I'll buy my boots, finally. If all goes well the treat of the day will be my very first 3D movie ever, Avatar, and we're doing it IMAX style.

In other words, kind of a regular Friday.

I don't love turning the 1 of a decade. It's sad and boring and old.

Can't stop it, though, so I guess, whatever I do today, I'll turn 41 tomorrow and some stuff will happen. Maybe it'll be good, right?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I Know You're Not Supposed To

I know that around the holidays and your birthday it's treason to buy yourself gifts and yet sometimes I do. I try to contain it to things that no one else is likely to know about in any fashion. So I bought myself this tiny portrait and I didn't tell anyone about it. I've been bursting to tell but have waited and now I just can't wait any longer.

I don't know why it spoke to me so strongly but the idea of having a small painted image (this is a printed repro but still a painted image in some sense) on canvas just thrilled me and the portraits were something I wanted to look at all the time. I kept surfing back to Etsy to gaze longingly at the images until I realized that $24 wasn't so large a price to pay for something that was clearly giving me so much pleasure and inspiration.

I love all the women but especially the three Naomi images.

If I were going to splurge on another one right away it'd probably be this one.

Of course the perspective on these two is intriguing as well.

This one makes me feel free and this one makes me nostalgic and this one makes me wish somehow I were her, which is odd.

Over time I see myself with a whole display of them somewhere. Probably on one of the small walls in my bedroom. I'm sure my decorator will think that's nuts but I like it and I like buying "real" "art" (whatever that is). And I like the way they make me feel.

Have you snuck yourself a treat lately? Where can I find it?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Sit Still And Shut Up!

I'm writing about the state of theatre as regards my generation over at the WC today. Would love to have your input.

Since I wrote that piece I have seen In The Next Room (the vibrator play) and have thought of two more things to say.

1. I LOVE SARAH RUHL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love her so much I want to lick her all over like a labrador retriever. A pink, hairless, creepy labrador retriever.

2. For the love of all that is holy please take your children to live theatrical performances. Being an audience member for live theatre is a skill and if you don't use it it gets rusty. And if it gets rusty I may have to kill you using only your Playbill and a half-unwrapped cough drop. Last night, in the midst of a play that I was loving I endured the following:

2 ringing cell phone incidents
Texting/uploading of software to an iPhone
Snapping of plastic water bottle
Opening of carbonated beverage
Coughing (many varietals)
Talking (clarification for the hard of hearing)
Talking (commentary)


Or else...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Monday, January 04, 2010

Halloween in December

On the coldest night of last week three women of varying ages went on an adventure to the deepest wilds of...Manhattan.
Alita fell ill in late October, missing both her class Halloween party and city-wide trick or treating. Her mother, in her infinite wisdom, decided that we should do something special to make up for that loss. So we headed to Jekyll & Hyde Club.
The girl wore her awesome Fay Wray costume and charmed all the weirdos in the joint. The employees thought she was cool, too.

Though nothing can make up for missing Halloween I think it's just possible that she had a good time. What do you think?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A Trip In Pictures (Not Chronological)

Full set can be seen, as ever, here.

P.S. If I took your photo over the trip and am not allowed to post it on the internet your shots have also been posted with appropriate privacy settings.