Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Eve of the Month

Halloween in my neighborhood is a freak show. Maybe even bumped up to freakadelic as of this year.

Tonight I met Kath & Alex and stood around someone's house while they gave out candy and marveled at the costumes. A precocious teen in attendance was dressed as a pirate, but not just any pirate, a software pirate. Alex had vamped up, and in case you didn't know it's the vest that makes the vampire costume.

Kath and I took off and wandered the 'hood. 313 Clinton was in full swing with a sequel to the Pirates of the Scaribbean they did a few years ago. This is the place where they decorate the whole structure of the house, include gravestones with pithy rhymes and then get all liquored up and do a show every 20 minutes for the whole night. This year? Sword fighting. It was fabulous. But the crowd was spilling out into the street and causing a traffic snarl so we moved on around the corner.

We went down past the house where some enterprising individual was taking (selling?) photos of trick or treaters in their costumes and past the house with the two and a half story spider web and spider with the red blinking eyes.

We must have spent about 45 minutes in front of the house with the band. It's right next to where Chris Rock used to live. When we arrived the band consisted of an undead housewife in fuzzy slippers on the tenor sax, some sort of skeletal Mexican Day of the Dead woman on trumpet and lead vocals, a dancing high heeled pirate on keyboards and two Hanson-gone-to-pot teenagers on guitar and drums.

I fell a tiny bit in love with those teenagers. Total pothead looking kids, totally jamming out with what must have been their mom and 2 of her friends. It's not often that you find a teenager who has the rock steady center to anchor the rhythm section. Here were 2 of them. Trick or treaters were crushing up against them, trying to bang on the drums, talking to them, waving stuff and these kids were unmoved from the beat. It was awesome.

Turns out they were just filling in for the adult band which was all guys except for the same undead tenor saxophonist. They were good too and they all worked the crowd like nobody's business. The house was all done up with ghosts in the trees and signs and mannequins. The candy was being distributed by an undead fortune teller. She had a "No costume No candy" sign which I think we should ALL have.

I think that next year we should have Halloween once a month all summer long. Just an excuse to sit out on the stoop and hand out candy to crafty kids and listen to music and dance in the street. I'm not exactly sure what my first costume will be but it's going to involve a crown.

Monday, October 30, 2006

It Was Only a Matter of Time

The girl is more famous than I am. I remember a lovely woman swung by and took Em's picture while we were chilling at the back of the crowd in half costume waiting for the results. I had no idea she was sending in pictures to The Gothamist.

Hee. Cool.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New babies

Last week MKAEP had a blessed event in her home. She is now marveling at the sweet babies, and purchasing C1@ritin in bulk. I remember when my kittens were this little, so sweet and vulnerable. Seems like a long time ago. They're still sweet but they can take care of themselves now.

Looking up?

People have asked if my Friday got better.

Well, while it was not a total loss, not a day unworthy of note, the little annoyances continued throughout.

Bad things
: There were only 2 people in my dance class - I got my ass kicked, worked on all my biggest problems. Didn't manage to return my library books which were due that day. I'm about to walk the dog and get ready to meet BeBe and LilyB at 6:30, BeBe says, "6:30? No! 5:30!" The play we saw was both not good and very long.

Good things: There were only 2 people in my dance class - I got my ass kicked, worked on all my biggest problems. Got to have lunch with Miflohny while picking up the cane for the Halloween costume. Got to have dinner with BeBe and LilyB, saw Lily's new apartment, caught the very end of the World Series in a bar after the play. Supported a brand new theatre company and surprised 2 old friends by doing so.

All in all a good day, just a little rough.

Now let's just enjoy the pretty pictures

Our hilarious emcee, Justine, who, despite almost losing toes to frostbite this year, was heard to say "I want to do this every year!"

When I thought this dog was one of the Bad News Bears I thought it was funny. Then I found out he was Teen Wolf and I loved it so much. The audience kept yelling out questions, "Michael Landon version or Michael J. Fox?" "What about the Jason Bateman sequel?"

I apologize for the blurry photo but it was the only one I got and the costume was hilarious. One Eyed, One Horned, Flyin' Purple People Eater came with 2 people in costume, one fully costumed dog, soundtrack and finally a (fake) human hand that was treated in some way so that the dog was gnawing on it the whole time.

As a group these dogs were cute. Unfortunately the gentleman handler insisted on showing them each separately which took forever and in the end the fireman won a prize. (Still bitter? Why yes I am. Store bought costumes should be disqualified.)

Marie Antoinette was very cute. Sadly by the time I got this photo she had lost the plume in her hair. The best part is that her owner had dressed as a guillotine.

Marie exacting revenge on the stupid wig. This is what all the dogs wish they could do when it's all over.

Final verdict on the leopard was a template created by a tattoo artist friend and spray on hair color.

How cute is he? He was wearing his brand new halti collar and he didn't know what to do with himself.

I wanted to ask the owner of this dog where she got the tutu. It's the kind I've been trying to get for Alita since her old one disintegrated from overuse. It's one of the ones where there are flowers trapped in the tulle. My favorite. If I had one for myself I would wear it every day.

Now this one, not maybe the most inspired or the most labor intensive, but somehow it just worked. I have not included the photo of the south end of him headed north while his owner was trying to slip on those shorts. It's not for the G Rated crowd.

Not pictured: Grand Prize Winner Ernest Hemingway, complete with cigar. An entire group project about eminent domain abuse. A whippet dressed as a French artiste, complete with shivering and shaking as though in an underheated garret. A woman with 4 boot sized dogs - I have no idea what their costumes were but she let them wrap their leashes around her legs until she was fully immobilized - for all I know she's still there. Tiny Dorothy with not 2 but 4 ruby slippers. A pug with a crab strapped to its back, not really sure what that was about but it was hilarious.

Next year we're not even participating...unless we come up with a really super idea.

This year's effort

Which also went unrewarded except for the adulation of the crowd. Emily even went so far as to sit pretty in front of the judges table for her picture.

Little Bo Peep and the Wolf in sheep's clothing. (It was hard to get a picture of the crook but it's there, I promise, and it's gorgeous!)

Both dogs were relatively chill about wearing the costumes but getting them to sit together and face the same direction for a photo proved to be impossible.

I took Em for a 45 minute walk this morning before the contest to try to get the ya yas out so she'd be calm in the crowd. You're supposed to do that for puppies, adult dogs are supposed to just sort of chill and deal on their own. Not my dog. The whole exercise proved to be wasted effort. She was all keyed up anyway.

You be the judge

Who would you pick as the winner?

Teddy & Em last year...

...or this year's honorable mention winners?

Teddy's Girl & I would very much like to be grown ups about this but the truth is we're really pissed off.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

On a Night Like Tonight

It's a story you've heard before. Many of you have heard it more than once. A million times, perhaps. And yet, I'm going to tell you anyway. I was going to write about it earlier in the month but I waited until the right kind of day.

It was a dark and stormy night, as you well know.

It was a dark and stormy day, too, when Pony Express walked into work (oddly enough she's working for the same company this weekend) and joined in a day long conversation with everyone who walked in the door about the abandoned dog outside. Poor dog. People kept trying to get the puppy to follow them home but no dice. A Power Bar was administered to no avail (and good lord let's thank the woman who tried that because the results were delightful). So, at the end of the night Pony Express put the wet, shaking, frightened pup into the car and brought her home. Poor baby.

Now, 11 years later, she is somewhat drier and the shaking has subsided for the most part...as long as there's no thunder, or a vet, or a big female dog in the vicinity. Her stomach is not quite so iron but she's still willing to try to eat anything she's offered. Her legs are still holding her up and she's able to run around and jump up on the bed and pull me down the street if she wants something. I started her on Glucosamine anyway, though. You all know how well that went. Then I forgot about it for a while so I need to start that up again. Good times. I worried that her eyes weren't good, the vet informed me that it's not the eyes, it's just that she's ignoring me. I really shouldn't be this surprised, should I?

How have I spent this stormy day that marks the beginning of our 12th year together? I have been making her a humiliating costume for tomorrow's contest. I'll post pictures after the contest tomorrow. She has been unfailingly patient, poor thing. She just looks up at me as if to ask, "Are you sure we need to do this? Because it seems like a dumbass idea but I love you. I really love you. You realize how much I must love if I'm doing this, right?"

Totally do. Love her. Best dog in the world.

Friday, October 27, 2006

I Know How Alexander Felt.

By 6:14am it was clear as day that this one wasn't going to go my way. Cannot buy a break.

Just as my alarm goes off, my nice, soothing, iPod-powered alarm, the dog starts barking her fool head off. And she won't stop. She's not a barky dog but I can't tell why she's barking and she won't shut the hell up. I get up, I call out, I peek out and there's nothing there. She goes to sit by the front door and I go to pee.

By this point I've realized that little sleep and a very strong drink made out of nothing but Brazilian vodka and tiny wedges of lime make for that weird all over shaky feeling you get in the morning sometimes. So I figure I'll turn on the computer then make some toast.

But no, first I must clean up the cat pee. I can't find Elvis so this is leading me to believe that his UT stuff may be coming back. Which means goodbye days of easy dry food and I have to look for his vitamins. You know, after I clean up the pee. So I do that.

While I'm cleaning I turn on the TV and select an episode of The Shield. I turn around from cleaning and it's a full screen shot of the head of a boa constrictor. Time out from cleaning for dancing around the apartment trying to shake off the creepy crawly feeling all over my skin.

Finally, I've got the vitamins opened so I can easily lie in wait for the cat, my toast is down and I'm sitting to hit the e-mail button. Toast pops. I stand, putting the computer down in my seat, and try to untangle the cord so no animals will cause an accident. Pulled the laptop right down on my toe.

If I were an optimistic person I'd say that the day had nowhere to go but up. If I were an optimistic person.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Separated at birth

Long lost brothers perhaps. Who knows?

I went to see the Knicks last night. They don't look half bad. That little (5'9") Nate Robinson dude (not pictured) has a golden arm and, amazingly, he's not the only one who's consistently finding success from three point land.

No, not exactly going to turn me into a basketball fan again but I had fun and I feel better informed. You know how much I like to have the info.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This is what I'm talking about

**Though this is short it contains important spoilers for the "Wrap Party" episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.**

It's relevant to what I've been talking about regarding the Amish school shooting and adoption. If Sorkin titled his episodes only slightly less literally I'd suggest "Where Did I Come From?" for this one. And I'd tell you how and why it's masterfully written but a. I'm about to be late for work and 2. you've heard that from me a couple of times already.

Simon, played by D.L. Hughley, spends the episode haranguing Matt (Matthew Perry) about his white, liberal guilt keeping him from speaking the modern black language. He says he's offended that there isn't a black writer on staff and he takes Matt to a comedy club to see a hot, new black comic to see if the guy is right for a staff position at S60.

He's not.

He is, in point of fact, embarrassingly bad and hackneyed and it makes Simon angry. He tells Matt a story about one of the people from his childhood who made sure that he got out of South Central and went to college and made a name for himself. At the end of the story he says this:

"I can see it (South Central) from my pool, man, and if I don't reach in there and grab as many of them as I can carry every day then I deserve to get sent right back to it."

Some might say that the same goes for all of us.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Advice for the day

From a new friend of mine, "Being on tour together is not a good reason to get married."

True that, sister.


I've had a fascination with the story of Medea for a long time now. It didn't start with my college senior project but that's where it gained it's place at the forefront of what I create. Andrea Yates, Susan Smith, all the modern Medeas put me back in a research space. Not research really but a thinking about what an easy play, really, it is to understand because she could be any of us. My heart always goes out to the mothers. As awful as the result is it seems so clear that it could come to that, how one can find themselves painted into that corner.

I've been reading a play by Anna Deavere Smith that I'm really loving and you can bet your boots this won't be the last you hear of it. It's called House Arrest and it's about politics and society and whatnot. More on that later. The characters are all real people and the words are all directly from interviews by the playwright and/or written words from historical documents.

I read one portion on the train home tonight. The interviewee is Paulette Jenkins, an inmate at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women. Her boyfriend used to beat her and her kids. She got pregnant with a kid of his in the hopes that he would stop hitting her kids if he had his own. One night she sat in the bedroom with her baby listening to her guy hit her daughter. "...every time her would hit her she would fall. And she would hit her head on the tub. I could hear it. It happened continuously, repeatedly. (Whispering) And I dared not move." Her daughter sustained severe head trauma (shocker) and died. Jenkins later went along with a scheme by her boyfriend to report the little girl missing and then dump the body where it could be found and blamed on unknown kidnappers. The play doesn't get into the rest of the story but since she's an inmate I suspect their little ruse didn't go over very well.

In the original Greek play you have a woman who was a princess, a powerful sorceress, beautiful and intelligent. She makes a choice to follow one man. Then she makes some more choices to cut all her ties to her homeland and her family. You know, not necessarily great choices but hers to make. And there she is, washed up on a foreign shore with her kids and she's been waiting for the one man who now comprises the rest of her family to come back and she hears that he's found another woman, that he's not coming back.

So. You live in a land that belongs to the woman who replaced you. You can't leave because the ship you came on and everyone who run it belong to the man who just discarded you. What are your choices? You could teach your kids to turn the other cheek and accept the situation and continue to live here. But is that the lesson or will it turn out to teach them that they aren't worth putting up a fight? You could scratch and scrape and debase yourself with work far beneath your station to break free and leave the country of your rival. Making your own way is a good lesson, right? Or will they learn that running away at all costs is the way to deal with sorrow and betrayal? You could leave by yourself, give your kids over to the care of their father and this woman. They'd live a wonderful life with every material thing they ever needed. But chances are the only thing they'd ever remember is that their mother left them. You could just drown them. It's the only thing that doesn't offer them lasting harm, isn't it? Or is it. At least with the drowning their suffering is finite.

Jenkins had been covering up the beatings that she and her children had been taking from this guy for years. She'd made her share of bad choices by choosing this guy, by staying with him, by standing by in any form when he beat her children. On the night in question she sat with the baby, the most vulnerable of her babies, and he started in on one of her others, her precious daughter. She could hear it. She had the option to intervene. She could go in there with the baby and risk the baby getting hurt. She could go in on her own and then both she and her daughter would get beaten. And if she was beaten badly, if she were killed, there were 3 other kids who would be at this man's mercy without her there to even comfort them. And this doesn't even begin to address any of the other things that might have happened if she'd taken her kids and left. She probably didn't have any money or any place to stay. She could have reported him but they'd been living like this for years, how could she be sure the authorities wouldn't take her kids away from her completely if she owned up to the situation? Maybe if she let him take one, if he went too far with just one, then he'd be scared straight and she could give the rest of her children a better life. And if it didn't turn out that the life afterwards was better at least that one child's suffering would be finite.

Heartbreaking, all of it. And yet. Yet. It's going to happen again and again. For a lot of reasons.

But I have a meeting in 15 minutes so here's your conclusion in short form.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

100 Things: #58 Prairie

At some point each day they pulled over. At a lot of points every day they pulled over, for gas or to pee or to eat.

At some point each day they pulled over for no reason.

It was part of the essence of the trip, the spontaneity it required. You don't get into a car to go to the Jersey shore and end up in South Dakota because you're following a schedule. Or a map.

You get there by running away. They were getting very good at it. It was terribly Bonnie & Clyde but without all the bullets.

Often the stop would be at a store. Wal-mart, K-mart, really anything with 'mart" in the title didn't count. Lee was driving when they saw the sporting goods store. It was in a renovated barn in Indiana, there was a picture of the owner's family by the front door, all four living generations. Something about the smell, leather and stitching and wood and sweat made Karen's eyes tear up. Sports are the landscape of childhood. Lee squeezed her hand but she let go and walked away toward hockey sticks and face masks. He watched her for a moment before he tried out some golf clubs. Later he ran into her in baseball gloves. She stood before a whole wall of them, from baby-sized to giants.

"Here," he plucked a stiff catcher's mitt off the shelf, "smell."

Karen put her face into the leather and breathed in all that potential. It smelled sharp, almost made her lungs hurt but she liked that. When she couldn't stand it anymore she proffered it to him. He let her hold it, just lowering his face to the pocket. When he straightened up they looked and each other and smiled.

"Does this one fit you?" he asked, handing her a regular mitt.

It seemed to. Felt a little tight, awkward but OK.

Lee browsed the rack until he found another one for himself. Then, taking her ungloved hand he led her to the baseballs. He chose one and they checked out, back on the road in under half an hour. Direction: away.

Over the next few days as she drove he tossed the ball into his glove over and over, then into hers. In the parking lots of motels he improved her throw and taught her how to catch without hitting herself in the face. She got better not because she had any innate athletic ability but out of the satisfaction the thwock of the ball in the pocket brought her. The hard final sound of it tightened her stomach and made her heart stand up straight.

They both looked in the back seat whenever they got out of the car. They looked to be sure the belt was clicked shut and every so often, if they weren't careful, their eyes met over the top of the car. Those moments made the running away obselete.

She had read the Little House on the Prairie books again that year. Something about the wide open spaces they described appealed to her. Still when she drove by her first field of tall, swaying grass she was unprepared for the feeling.

You could get lost out there. That certainly had its good side. It was so big, though. She felt appropriately small. It was hard to keep her eyes on the road with all that motion, the vast expanse of things so small they blended into one. The second time she swerved over into the oncoming lane she decided to pull over.

The windows were down so she wormed her way out on the driver's side, sitting on the door and resting her chin on the roof, just staring. Karen wasn't the type to let herself be hypnotized, giving over her control, but this felt good.

After a few minutes Lee got out and leaned against the car on the opposite side. He seemed keyed up, she thought, he was distracting her. Maybe it was on purpose. So she wasn't surprised when he tossed her baseball glove over the car to her.

"Come on," he said and struck out a few yards into the grass.

Karen disentangled herself and came around the back of the car.

She was two steps from it when the ball sailed toward her. The catch was precarious, on the tip of the webbing, but she kept hold of the ball.

She cocked her arm and hesitated.

Lee knew what she was going to do and he thought it was OK with him but he was still scared.

Standing by the back door of the car she planted her feet and threw the ball as hard as she could. She didn't stay to watch it sail over Lee's head. By the time he realized he was going to have to run she was already unbuckling the seatbelt and nestling the small metal box in the crook of her arm.

Once she joined him they hunted the ball down together and played catch for a bit. One step at a time, after all. The easy rhythm of the ball was soothing, like a placeholder, so they didn't have to move too fast. The box sat between Lee's feet, darkened by his shadow.

It didn't take as long as she thought it would for their rhythm to slow. After one particularly sweet throw on her part he just slid off his glove and knelt down. By the time she sat down across from him he had the lid nearly pried off the box.

Once the lid was off he seemed stymied, holding the top in one hand and the bottom in the other, arms suspended purposelessly in the air.

So Karen touched one arm, gently guiding it toward her so she could spin the twist tie on the industrial strength plastic bag inside. When it finally spun apart she wrapped it around her finger for safekeeping before she opened the bag.

There was no smell. They both thought there should have been a smell. It made Karen think of all the stories of getting the wrong ashes back. She thought she'd know if these were wrong but there aren't any guarantees, that had already been made clear to them. Lee thought about putting his head to the bag and inhaling as deeply as he could to force himself to smell something.

In cases like this it seems it's always the mother who must take the lead, which isn't terribly fair. The mother takes the lead in bringing a person into the world, shouldn't someone else take the first step to let that person out of it?

Karen's hand paused a moment at the mouth of the gritty plastic bag and Lee's hand leapt forward. All ten fingers descended at once so that neither parent noticed when the other gasped. They couldn't maneuver in so little room. Extracting a handful of ashes wasn't possible. Granules and small chunks of bone clung to their skin and a small amount, maybe a tablespoon, was caught balanced between their entwined fingers. Almost giggling at the farcical quality of it Karen cupped her free hand under the tangle to catch any runoff.

The wind was calm for a moment so they could look at each other over this very special scant handful of grit.




"No, right."

Like the crowd noise at the end of the Star Spangled Banner the wind came back a few bars too soon. With no warning or gradual build up it whipped around their awkward huddle and took the ashes with it. For a moment Lee and Karen were surrounded by a cloud and then it was gone, except for the few stubborn grains under their fingernails and in their eyelashes, held temporarily in the webbing of their baseball gloves.

Lee began to put the lid back on the urn.

"Wait." Karen used the tie she'd saved to twist the bag shut first.

"Shall we?" he gestured toward the car.

"You ready?"

"No," he admitted, "not yet." He tossed the ball casually to her.

So, they put their gloves on and Karen wedged the tin box between her feet on the hard ground and they played catch.


Years ago I lived with a guy who said that he read to slowly to keep up with subtitles and the introductions to movies. I think we were probably watching Star Wars at the time and I started a tradition of reading the opening narration to him. By the end I did it with everything we saw (at home, not in a theatre, never in a theatre). For some reason, probably all the deliciously British bad guys in Star Wars, I read those first ones in an evil British accent. So now, many, many years later, I still read all opening narration in any movie in that stiff accent. Never in front of other people, but always when I'm alone.

So fess up, what endearingly quirky things do you do?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pretty words

Sonnet #138
William Shakespeare

When my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppress'd.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:

Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter'd be.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pick Your Hot Jesus

Yeah, so I watched The Passion of the Christ. I'm sorry about that. I had to know.

First a brief note to Mr. Gibson: If you use slow motion in a third or more of a movie then it's not a tool to emphasize and focus it's just a really slow movie.

The one sentence review is that it feels like an inside joke for everyone who's read the bible. I guess I expected more of a recruitment film. Boy was this not it.

I mean, clearly I don't know a lot about Jesus but it was my understanding that he was something of a teacher, wanting to explain himself and his beliefs to as many people as possible so that they could feel his joy and sense of purpose. Or something. So, I expected a movie that explained the last 12 hours (or so, because being a bit of heathen who believes in evil science it's my understanding that it takes a lot longer than 12 hours to die from crucifixion) of Jesus' life, something that would help me piece together the few things I know and make a comprehensive picture with times and actions and names to faces and maybe even some back story. I also expected that, if I was supposed to feel sorry for someone (for instance, Jesus), the film would give enough information about that character so that I would care solely in the context of the movie, without having to have done homework beforehand.

It didn't and that's fine and now I've seen it and I feel a little silly. What was all the fuss about? I don't care if religious organizations make home movies. Do what you like, just let me know beforehand that it's just for you guys and I won't expect so much from it.

So, Cliff Notes somebody, please? Is there really an earthquake in the bible when Jesus dies. It's not in Jesus Christ Superstar or Godspell. And if there wasn't was it a metaphor? And if it was a metaphor then why were you so ridiculously realistic about the gross stuff but then not about the spiritual stuff? Oh for cripes sake, it's just a shitty movie, why am I even asking?

I am common

Which is just as I suspected.

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

This guy's growing on me

Max Martini from the Unit. He's funny, he's a bad boy and it turns out he doesn't look half bad in a dress.

"You're better than porn!"

Back in the day I did think Doogie Howser was a cutie. I also thought the computer journal entries were intriguingly futuristic. I'm so glad he's grown up into Barney, though. Barney is so much better.

Buy a chance

Julie over at A Little Pregnant does this thing where she quilts and raffles off the quilts with the proceeds going to help families who are trying to build/grow/form (I have no idea what the politically correct term is here). I haven't been reading her blog for very long but from what I can tell she always says that this raffle is the last one and then she does one more. I'm very glad she's doing this particular one. It fits with my theme this month and it's exactly the kind of adoption story that I wish I could (hope I will?) be part of. So, click the link (Julie, this means you) and consider buying yourself, and a little Ethiopian girl, a chance.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cheap Trick

Here's another way to keep things going during the push to post once a day. Respond to comments in a new post!

Julie says: Okay, I'll admit I didn't read either of your links, but from what I understand of the Madonna thing the only special dispensations she got were permission to take the kid out of country while the process goes through and a waive of the live in country for two years rule. I think it might be feasible to consider them as the same: instead of fostering in country for two years she is fostering in England.

BTW, why has noone gone into the details of Angelina Joliepitt's adoptions? I am not sure she got any special favors, but the public is so interested in her, I am surprised they haven't dug.

First, bad girl, at least click the links! :) The thing I've heard about the special dispensation is that she adopted from a country that does not allow international adoption. It's the fact that the child's father is in contact is what's putting a bunch of people up in arms. Not sure why the Jolie-Pitt stuff is not being talked up more thoroughly, possibly because Jolie has been so active in humanitarian efforts by the UN so she's got a history of helping whole populations rather than lifting one child out without regard for the community, which is how the Madonna adoption is being portrayed.

Chili says: I think we may be jumping the proverbial gun a bit - it's not November yet, and I'm already trying to get in at least one new post a day. Here's hoping I don't burn out before the challenge expires!

For those of you joining us, know that I'm an English teacher and, as such, have access to eleventy-zillion writing prompts. If you're ever feeling like you need a creative shove, let me know....

I'm thinking of the November project as being a habit that one needs to get into. So, I don't feel as though I'll be using up all the good ideas, I'm just building the muscle so it won't give out during the actual challenge.

Chili re: the 100 Prompts: Wait! This is a COLLABORATIVE effort? OH! Okay! I thought it was a "Kizz is gonna write something for every item on the list at some point" sort of thing. I thought I was just borrowing the idea, but I love that it's a group effort. SO much less pressure that way!

Oh god yes, please collaborate with me. It's gonna take me forever to do them all! I'm working on Prairie right now. Hoping to have it ready to post tomorrow.

Vanx said a long time ago: I'm hoping, by the way, that you'll weigh in on the current dog leash law flap in "our" fair city. What are your Emily's thoughts?

I think it's fucking stupid is what I think. So does Emily. She wants to go to the home of the ass monkey who thought this up and shed all over him, vigorously. I keep starting to write about it and am so annoyed by people's stupidity that I can't even string thoughts together coherently. Some people in one neighborhood can't get along so they're going to waste court time hashing it out while also fucking half the city up the ass without lube by abolishing off leash hours? I'm so livid. I have to get past the livid and construct sane and convincing letters to the powers that be. I'm trying and I'll keep you posted.

JClemo says: This was one of the best posts I've ever read, and a touching semi-tribute to the Saginaw Times.
"Hey, you got Law and Order in my Homicide!"
"Well, you got Homicide in my Law and Order!"
And while you both were sleeping with the same guy, I was wondering why, also.

A. I'm so glad you're reading man!
B. Who said that first? Was it me? I wish it was me but I can't remember clearly.
3. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know already. Our hindsight is 20/15!

My Stupid Mouth

Since I was flapping my gums all over about the adoption issue then I suppose it's only right that I at least say something about Madonna's international adoption. The most honest thing I can say about it is that I haven't read up on it. So, let's leave it to the experts.

Brooklyn Mama, whose daughter came to her through international adoption, talks about it. She's afraid that this particular adoption will paint the entire process in a bad color. I think she's got a point, what she tells me about the adoption does sound pretty sketchy.

Katie Granju
talks about it a bit but lord knows I can't link to it for you so please just scroll down (it's pretty far down). Katie isn't shy or obtuse with her opinions, you'll recognize it easily.

An Album by the Police

I'm continually fascinated by the synchronicity in everyday life. Today I read 2 posts in fairly quick succession that somehow match or complement each other. You should check them out.

Sundry is talking about the ways in which having her son has changed her views. Specifically she's thinking about religion and spirituality and the complexities of having a truly pro-choice standpoint in the real world. She talks about another great writer, too, Anne LaMott.

Daddytypes pointed me toward this wonderful new resource for families whose children die. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep helps grieving families connect with a photographer in their area who will take photos of them with their child or children so that they have a record of the life that is being lost. It's not a new idea, bereavement photography, but it's new to have it move back in the mainstream in America.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

100 Things: #5 Christmas

Chili has crossed another one off the list for us.

No, actually I really meant...

So, yeah, then I went to that play (yes, actually as bad as they said but saved the 2 really great jokes for the end at least and nice pipes on Scott Cohen) and as I walked out the door I remembered that I'd missed the entire point of that whole Housekeeping post.

It was NaBloPoMo. In the tradition of NaNoWriMo M. Kennedy has asked people to commit to writing a post a day in November and, if you don't have a blog of your own, to commenting on someone else's blog once a day. She has not specified that we must meet the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word minimum for the month.

Chili (overachiever!) has decided to commit to both a post and a comment a day.

I (trying to keep up with the Joneses) am going to commit to that too.

Join us?



Sort of a linky kind of a thing maybe.

I so want someone to play that "What's in your purse?" game with me today. I have a humidifier filter in my purse, that's got to be worth something, right? No one else is going to have that, will they?

Steph points out something important in her latest post. "More women die of lung cancer than any other cancer, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancers combined." Bet you didn't know that. I didn't. (Ed. Note: Emphasis mine.)

Katie Granju says a lot of stuff that's sticking in my brain these days. She's designed the site so that you can't link to anything specific, just to the home page, even when she links to something outside of her own site (WHY?!?!?! So annoying.) so scroll down to see the post on misogyny as it relates to the recent school shootings and a little further on to the post about larger families. Go read the comments on that second one. I didn't comment on it because I thought my views might seem hostile. I couldn't hold a hostile candle to the people who actually commented on that piece.

Given that I was out of Crab Rangoon yesterday, I bought 24 Kraft white singles with which to bribe the dog to take her glucosamine. She ate the cheese off of it and spit the pill out. Anyone want to come over for grilled (fake) cheese?

I'm headed out to see a play tonight. It got just murdered in reviews I'm told but I'm still sort of excited. There's a kind of honor in going to things that are epically awful. I actually saw Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public on Broadway after all. It took me until halfway through intermission to realize that I wasn't the only one who thought it wasn't funny, the hilarity I was hearing was a laugh track. So tonight won't be a total loss, I'll have good company and Max Medina is starring.

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's all beginning to make sense

A couple of Sundays ago Carmencita, Alita and I were having brunch. We had thrown the hail mary pass of oops-no-toys-and-the-native-is-restless (ball point pen + lined paper = hey! draw me a picture!). Alita pulls on my sleeve.

Alita: This is you. You're getting married.

Me: Really? To who?

Alita: (with no hesitation) John.

My brain: John Smith? John Leguizamo? John the Baptist? Be more specific child!

Me: John who?

Alita: Um....um....Joooooohhhhhn...actually, I don't know.

But maybe, just maybe she meant John Mayer.

Save me a spot on the bandwagon

So, yeah, I know I'm usually late to the party but this is a bit tardy even for me. I think I like him. The music is nice, the lyrics are interesting, the beat is good (you can dance to it). It's the boy I'm interested in. Talented, well rounded, interesting, funny.

He's 8 years younger than I am but I think I'm in love.

So, scale of 1-10, how creepy is my love?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Chili asks

"You know what? I bought Far From Heaven and was woefully underimpressed by it. I ended up giving the movie to someone (was it you?!). Tell me why I should have loved it, please; I feel as though I've missed something important..."

Far From Heaven is, at its base, a movie about civil rights. The movie is set in a suburban town in the 1950s. And that's all I can tell you without spoilers. So, if you haven't seen it, be warned, if you read on plot points will be handed out willy nilly, also possibly scattered hither and yon, even.

Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid play the quintessential upper middle class family. They are the envy of all their friends, they throw the best parties and have the nicest gardens and can be relied upon in any time of need. The problem is Quaid is gay. He never touches his wife and when the pressure gets too intense he goes trolling through hidden downtown gay bars.

Dennis Haysbert plays the son of their regular gardener who has recently passed away. He's an educated single father struggling to bring his daughter up safely and with dignity in a largely pale community.

Since Quaid is out trying to balance the whole double life thing Moore is home, but not alone. The only person that sees her difficulty is Haysbert. A, largely platonic, relationship blossoms.

Here I will digress just a moment to say that, even if none of the above is even a teensy bit interesting to you, Patricia Clarkson plays Moore's best friend. She's cynical and worldly and looks fabulous in the costumes. Her character embodies the society they live in and, as usual, Clarkson does it deliciously. Her work alone is reason enough to watch the movie.

Back to the rest of the movie. Here's a secret, it's stylized. It's more the 1950s of Donna Reed of Leave it To Beaver or even I Love Lucy than the 1950s in which our parents grew up. Plenty of movies try this, Pleasantville does it pretty well, but the whole point of that movie is to smash that style to bits and the movie only succeeds when the smashing has occurred. Every element of Far From Heaven lives within this stylized world. The costumes, sets, dialogue. No character is exempt and the only actor who has even the slightest wobble in their committment to the style is the son, and the kid's only like 6 and he only breaks the style once so I'm giving him a pass.

The style is the perfect backdrop to play up the heart wrenching choices the characters have to make. Quaid's character has what he recognizes to be a beautiful life. He has not only achieved the American Dream he's brought it to a new level and the fact of that makes him happy. He can relax in the dream and that gives him time to reflect. And that's where he gets into trouble. Because he may have everything someone could ever want but it's missing one er, hard element that he wants. For Haysbert and Moore they find a connection that's been missing in their lives, something they need in order to be able to go forward and it's with the one person their world forbids them from connecting to.

OK, all those stories we've heard before. Romeo & Juliet anyone? Pretty much every episode of Queer as Folk? So, it's the style that makes this a must see movie. The style is, truly, perfectly executed and thereby highlights the issues in a special and fascinating way. The performances are exquisite. It helps the viewer to see things in a whole new way, I think.

Which is why you should gut it out for at least one complete viewing.

(Please note that this writer believes that, if you're going to watch something, then one complete viewing is required. Watching something part way and saying, "Nah, no thanks." is not in her repertoire. The only movie she has ever left in the middle of was Red Dawn and that was a panic issue not a dislike issue. You never know when a movie or book or tv show will cough up that one nugget that makes it all worth it. Plus, I hate half done shit, it makes my skull itch. I mean her skull itch, her skull.)

Sitemeter installation

Back when I first started talking about sitemeters Vanx asked me to let him know how I figured it out.

I totally forgot.


Here are the instructions that IT Guy pointed me to. (To which IT Guy pointed me.) I was able to follow them and get the thing installed on the first try. Vanx, since you've figured out a bunch of stuff that I can't I'm sure that you'll be fine with them.

Via the sitemeter I saw that someone from Israel checked out 117Hudson today. Fascinating.

Adoptable Throngs

If you know me at all then you know I'm not a child-free baby hater (tm Rob R-H, I think). However, I am on the ragged edge of becoming a zero population growth nazi.

Years ago MamaKizz gritted, "It's not fair that J has 4 votes and we have none!" She's talking about a girl I grew up with who isn't terribly...enlightened...or kind or any of the attributes I'm looking for in the coming generations. J has, well by now I guess she has 5 kids from 2 different husbands. And, you know, I've got none. At the time I told Mom to calm down because, well, because that's what I do when she goes off like that.

I'm afraid that at this point I'm starting to swing around to her point of view. Maybe it's all the infertility blogs. Or maybe it's just all the parenting blogs. You know those days when something horrific happens in the world and you think to yourself, "Oh god, how could I ever bring a child into a world like this!" Exactly what is it that changes that? What benefit are we all getting from having more people on the planet? We have too many people here already, in case no one has noticed. Is it really better that you add more people for the next generation? Is that going to help your kids and the world in which you're leaving them? And no, you can't have my slot, I'm leaving it blank on purpose.

OK, I know what I'm saying isn't terribly popular or PC or ladylike or any number of other virtues. And I know that if my readership were larger I'd for certain get a comment to the effect of, "You just don't understand since you don't have kids of your own." (I still might!) And, really, I'm not as all black and white about the issue as I may sound. Some of my favorite friends wouldn't be here if we stuck to the zero population growth rules. Hell, some of my favorite relatives wouldn't be here if we stuck to those rules. But that's my parents' generation and aren't we supposed to be expanding on their successes?

In the interest of that sort of expansion I give my opinion: Adoption. See all the kids on the earth already? Feed, clothe, educate, love and discipline them. I'll be over here ruminating on how I can do the same.

Look at how glamorous I used to be

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Got the dog some prevantive meds for her joints. Turns out it comes in enormous chewable pills. I tried to hand one to her, I tried to force it down her gullet (she swallowed it then horked it back up, whoopee), so I covered it in peanut butter and put it in her food. It's been sitting there for almost 24 hours, she's eating around it. I tell all this to Pony Express while we're having dinner last night and she says, "Hand me a crab rangoon." The only thing that gets the pills down the chute is crab rangoon. I'm going to make the local chinese restaurant very happy.

Friday, October 13, 2006

100 Things: #17 Patriot

A man was standing, quiet, at the top of one of those triangular traffic islands that dissect Times Square. He was well dressed, a suit and wing tips, head shaved nearly bald. He's white, nondescript in almost every way. Except for the sign. He holds a plain white piece of poster board high above his head. The lettering is black and it says, "Time for the truth. Why are we in Iraq?"

Though I wholeheartedly support the question I probably would have dismissed him as a nutbar if he'd been yelling or confronting people or even if he'd just been less well dressed.

The sign is his only voice, though. He turns slowly from side to side to capture as many eyeballs as possible but that's it.

In the moment that I passed him I wanted my own sign. I wanted everyone to have a sign. I wanted Times Square silent as a tomb and filled with people holding simple, homemade signs.

Why doesn't my daughter have health insurance?
What do my tax dollars really buy?
Why not Obama?

Because, of course, the answers aren't what's most important. What's most important is asking the right questions.


Sure, there are some things that are a drag about living alone but some things are great. Like when you wake up and all you feel like eating is ice cream? Who's gonna stop you?

Mmmmmmm, Vanilla Chocolate Chip.

With chocolate syrup.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My night

(See also: Martyr)
Jaromir Jagr
Orchestrated the first goal of the night then got a bullshit penalty called on him in the last 3 minutes of the game.

Colby Armstrong (of the Penguins)
Dear Colby,
In hockey sometimes people hit you. Get used to it.

Darius Kasparitis
According to the gentleman sitting in front of me it's likely that Kaspar wasn't suited up tonight because the team had plenty of healthy players on the roster.
Dear Rangers Coaching Staff,
Healthy does not equal good.
Also, Defense - look into it.

Not to PapaKizz: That penalty killer I was trying to remember a couple of days ago? Dominic Moore. He's still really good at that. Unfortunately this year he's killing penalties for the Penguins.

Other highlights of the evening:
1. An ad along the boards "Superfund: The Future of Investing". Perhaps I'm just old but to me "Superfund" means "Toxic Waste". Superfund clean up sites, remember? I'm so not investing in one.
2. The middle element of a 3 generation all guy spectator party next to me during a tie in the third period, "We need to get a girl in there. You know, put it in the hole?" Klassi.
3. An old man dumped his beer on me (by accident). Two periods later I discovered most of it had soaked the floor and therefore my backpack. Those padded straps suck up the beer real good. So, I smell like the campus whore after a frat party, it's time to walk the dog and go to bed.

Not like the the one on the moors

I do love me some Lady Heather. The relationship between her and Gil Grissom is built so beautifully, people using the same character traits to do vastly different jobs. I just wish that Melinda Clarke were known for this job, especially the episode where her daughter is killed, more than for her stint as Julie Cooper on the OC. Just goes to show you, as an actor, that you have very little control over how you're remembered. Your best work isn't guaranteed to be what everyone wants to see. I'm sure that Sylvester Stallone has mixed feelings when those arm wrestling fans track him down. Hmm, I wonder what Sly would like to be remembered for/as.

So, I'm rambling, but interesting question, isn't it? What would you like to be remembered for?

No idea, I haven't a clue in the world.

Off to see the Rangers beat some guys from Pittsburgh up! More tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Beauty Queen!

She came through! Here are the pretty photos of the pretty girl. Please use the comments section to tell her in what movies, plays and secret fantasies you would happily cast her.


I remembered two more just as I posted the others. These are two really good ones, too! Not my favorite picture ever of Toni Colette but it's the one that best illustrates her normal person's physique. And, check out the dress, very cool. It's a still from Far From Heaven, a movie that, if you haven't seen it you should go see right now. Right now.

Still no picture from Anna. But she did admit that this list of pretty normal-sized humans made her feel good.

No parts for the tall girls

Anna was saying something the other night that implied that there were just no parts for girls who looked all freaky like she does. Totally freaky. Tall, dark, brilliant smile, breasts, hips, long legs. Yeah, she's gonna have to wait until they start remaking those Alien movies before she can get any work. Poor girl.

This installment of hot people is comprised of women who are similar to Anna in height or build or a little bit of both. Stay tuned for her litany of protestations as to why these women are completely different and she will never work in this business ever. I'm asking her to leave all that in the comments. If we're really lucky she'll send me a picture of herself to post so she can prove her point and you'll see how pretty (and castable) she is.