Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Crazy Eyes

I added some photos that Celia took to the Saturday post. You should take a look.

Below, you will find the typical picture of Emma Carol--caught in mid-meow with her crazy eyes. This is just before she ran to see Celia and lick her on the knee. Ernesto looks on with lazy disgust at her display. If you click on this little picture, you can see her in full bloom.
My floor looks much cleaner than it is from this particular angle, that's for sure.

A phenomenon that I've noticed in our culture of late...The use of the phrase: "It is what it is." On first blush, this phrase seems to imply a sort of Buddha-like acceptance to life's annoyances and problems; no judgment passed, no real anxiety attributed to whatever the "it" is (have I written about this before? I feel like I have). However, you never hear this in a positive context. Like, you never hear a guy saying to his friend, who has just gotten a new guitar: "Man! It is what it is!" You only hear it used when something bad has happened. It's really a just another way of saying, "That's fucked up," but compounding the negativity by acting like you've just accepted it; that there's really nothing to do about the situation except to move on. As if to say, "we can't change this and we can't look at this any differently and we can't make it better because...it is what it is."

One wants to say, "No, it is what we make it." Here is a visual representation of the phrase:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Naked Jesus

Liz's comment on my last post reminded me of something I saw this morning.

Shirtless men: 1. Please keep in mind that this was during a very short period of time--the ten minutes it takes me to walk from my apartment to the subway. This guy was not jogging. He was carrying a large piece of wood across his shoulders. No shirt, jogging pants, a hat, and a beard circa Jesus in his late twenties. And the way he carried the piece of wood was uncannily reminiscent of Jesus on the way to the crucifixion. Only nonJesus thing about him was that he had visible hair on his back--enough that it was noticeable from say...3 blocks?

Okay, and while we're on the topic, I will confess to watching 3 straight hours of the Style Network; three shows I've never heard of before. I was also doing crafts, but still, that's a lot of television for one evening. But it was hypnotic. First, I watched How Do I Look?, hosted by that
British lady who used to be on General Hospital. For the first half of the show, she was the nice character and then the second half of the show, she got amnesia and her evil twin took over. The show is pretty canned--but it's about some poor slob whose friends can't stand the way she dresses anymore and they nominate her to be saved. The woman last night wore fake braids with flowers in them and seventeen layers of clothing, plus three bags and six scarves. And braces. Blah, blah, blah. They dressed her a little better, I guess. She got a years worth of free contacts. I'm sure that she's already back in scarves and mothy cardigans over t-shirts over blouses over tank tops over a bustier, over yet another tank. With leggings and tights. And socks. Stuffed into boots. With spurs.

The next show was Clean House. It's just what it sounds like--a messy house that gets reorganized by a comedian and a couple of other people. It wasn't boring though, I swear. The most interesting thing was that the wife/mom was a total basket case. She couldn't stop crying. I could kind of understand. She had a husband who vacuumed the kitchen floor a few times a day. To rebel, she let the upstairs pile up with crap. They had a yard sale and made less than a thousand dollars.

Lastly, we have Split Ends which features a high end stylist (in this case, the prima dona who owns Berdorf Goodman) and a low end stylist (a woman whose salon is in the back of her house and which also contains goats. They don't cut hair).

And right now we have Age of Love, which just had the most unheard of ending--one woman actually DROPPED OUT! Are you kidding me??? Doesn't she know the rules of fleeting fame? It doesn't matter if you like the guy or not. You could think he sucks, but if you drop out, you lose air time! She did it anyway. I was very proud of her, even though she milked it probably three shows past when she needed to. Then, the cute 21 year old airhead could not get onto the plane to fly to Australia to meet Joe's family (or whatever his name is). She had a serious panic attack and nearly threw up. So, she had to leave. Next week: will he choose the 48 year old or the 25 year old? Seems like it'll be the younger girl, but it also occurred to me that maybe, just maybe there will be a twist...Like, he'll say he doesn't want either one and would rather try to see what it's like with the 21 year old. Or maybe, he'll confess that he's really a woman (that did actually happen on one reality show in another country. I'm serious. These guys dated who they thought was a woman, only to discover at the end that she was a pre-op he. That's television!).

Omigod, look. Even the guy from this reality show doesn't realize that he should be wearing a shirt.

You Know You're in Trouble When The Heroin Shooting Corey is the More Stable Side-kick

Caught some of the reality TV show The Two Corey's last night, which features those Corey's from The Lost Boys--Haim and Feldman or Faim and Heldman, who knows. Let's call the dark-haired Corey 1 and the other Corey 2. Corey 1 used to have a serious heroin addiction. The other Corey was the cute-button faced kid who I always got confused with Kirk Cameron. Oh, okay, I just looked it up and Corey Feldman is the dark-haired kid (now an adult, though he looks exactly the same as he did twenty years ago). Well, the Corey Haim guy (Kirk) is absolutely a crystal meth addict. He can't sit still for more than.05 seconds and he talks too fast and doesn't make much sense. He constantly high-fives everyone and last night, it appeared that he accidentally licked Corey #1's wife's arm when she was trying to console him after he found out that he's not invited to be in The Lost Boys sequel. And he smokes constantly and won't stop embracing everyone and saying, "I love you, man!" And yet...there is something about it--the nostalgia, maybe--that makes me hope they will all be okay.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

On the Streets Where You (and I) Live

Have done my usual walking around on the weekends--met up with Celia yesterday and we trekked to Circle Thrift and then over to my house so she could admire the cats and cat dustballs. She noticed right away that Emma Carol has crazy eyes. Like, she always looks like she's about to take off running or attack a fly or turn in spastic circles. There may be photos of her tomorrow. I should keep a meter of the things I typically see.


Crazy homeless person: 1. This was a skinny Black woman who was waving plastic bags in the air in a stairwell on Broad St. near Circle Thrift. Celia guessed that she was either on crack or crystal meth. The woman kept swatting at imaginary things and organizing the bags and then flailig them every which way as though landing an unseen plane. Then she got up and walked across the busy street wearing men's bedroom slippers. Below, please note two men on Broad St. One is pointing to the homeless lady.

Funny cats: 1. This particular cat had its tail shaved to resemble a lion's.

Virgin Mary's in windows: 3.

Cute dog: Numerous, but best is this Border Collie mix outside of Whole Foods.

Men jogging without their shirts on (gross): 2.


Crazy Homeless Person: 1. Outside of CVS on 9th Street, bellowing out something about how to make good decisions.

Cats petted: 5. A skinny black and white stray and four others who live in Molly's Bookstore in the Italian Market.

Fairy figurines in windows: 16.

Random abandoned shoe: 3.

Dirty li'l hipsters: Numerous.

Men jogging topless: 1. I don't care how in shape you are, I don't want to see your grody sweaty naked chest breeze by. Would you feel the same way about Mark Twain if he went jogging without his shirt on? Think about it, people!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Second News Flash of the Day

Molly and I are going to 10 Stone after work today to pick up Irish men/leprechauns (no offense, Paddy). I wish that City Liz would join us....

News Flash: Chickens are Stupid

This morning, I decided again to go to the Walnut/Locust subway stop rather than the Tasker/Morris one. It takes about 25 minutes to get there and is always an interesting walk and is a good way to get in some exercise, particularly if I know I won't be able to go to the gym later. Highlights of today:

*The chickens, pigeons, doves and a rooster in cages on Passyunk Avenue. I paused to look at them and they all stopped what they were doing to stare at me and make chicken noises. Then they resumed gobbling up the seed, unaware of their fate. I had a brief fantasy of liberating the pigeons/doves. Running up to the cage and tipping it open and scattering them. Some would invariably dash into the street and be run over. But why are they in cages in the first place? Where are they going? Into Chinese food? I'm serious--do people eat pigeons?

*A drugged out skinny man in a wife beater tee with badly done blue tattoos up and down his thin arms. It was not quite 8 a.m. and his eyes were half-mast. Did he fix in the park at sunrise? What would the rest of his day be like? Chasing the dragon, I guess.

*Two white stone lions outside of someone's house. I had to touch both of them on the heads. It reminded me of how, when I was little, I hated to go to the furniture store b/c it was so boring. I tried to keep myself occupied by going around and touching all of the ceramic animals in the store--giraffes, jaguars, greyhounds. I imagined that maybe at one time, they had been real, but were so bored by the furniture store that they turned to stone.

*A new (to me) coffee shop on 10th and Carpenter called InFusion. I didn't stop, but I made a note of it so that I can check it out this weekend. Same goes for the Headhouse Farmer's Market on Sunday at 2nd and Lombard. They have lots of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. I am pretty sure I will escape unencumbered by any veggies, but I may buy an apple or two with local worms in them.

*Listening to a new playlist folder I added to my ipod entitled "Sad." That's all of the slow sad stuff that I like; "Eleanor Rigby," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," Carly Simon's "That's the Way I Always Heard it Would Be," "Snowbird," "That's Just What You Are," that one Bright Eyes song, Elliot Smith's "Someone That I Used to Know," (except I can't sing it the way he does, because it's grammatically incorrect. I have to sing "someone WHO I used to know..." and I feel like I'm picking on poor, fragile [and dead] Elliot Smith), and a few others.

*The skinny gay guy who I see in the coffee shop. He's always wearing gigantic sunglasses, skin tight black jeans, and a fey shirt.

Below is a photo of my li'l bitty mini bathroom. Please note that you can touch everything at the same time. You can be in the shower and reach over to pull whatever you need right out of the medicine cabinet. The sink is the size of one you might see on a sailboat, barely enough for a duckling to bathe in. Still, I like the yellow walls and the checked floor.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stress Dreams

I had one of those so typical dreams last night where I was late for a high school test on a book I hadn't read in ages. I arrived after everyone else had started and my pencil needed sharpening. In the dream, I had the opportunity to earn extra points if I could list and write a little bit about the history of dukedom (??). I don't think I finished. I know my sentences weren't coming out correctly. At the end, I was so stressed out that I yelled at the entire class--screamed, actually, and embarrassed myself. I think I ran from the room. Later, I ran into an old ex-boyfriend and his new partner and I screamed at them too. I think I said to him, But look at her face! She has a man's face and man's hands! She's bigger than you. He said, Well, that's never been a problem for me. We can wear the same shoes. Don't remember what else happened except that later, I was watching a scene study between two people I work with and neither one of them would refer to the script and so they kept forgetting what to say. At the end, the teacher asked for comments. I said, Well, there was nothing at stake. She didn't need anything from him and he didn't either. The teacher agreed.

Part of this comes from reading Armistead Maupin's Michael Tolliver Lives. You may know the author more readily as the one who has written all of those Tales of the City about gay men living in San Francisco. This book is also about gay men--a gay couple to be exact. It's entertaining and somewhat interesting, but I'm halfway through it and I have yet to find a conflict or a plot. I mean, that's fine, but it's a little strange. Finished The Da Vinci Code this weekend, ten years behind everyone else. I had to slog through the last 3/4 of it. It's a book whose subtitle should be "Dum-Da-Da-Dum!" because of the ah-ha ending. I was skimming most of the last 300 or so pages; did I miss something? Because it seemed like the Holy Grail is just Mary Magdalene's ashes scattered under some tomb. Seemed kind of anticlimactic to me. I wanted a scene like the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark where the faces melt off. I have checked out more sensible books from the library, the new one from Toni Morrison and a John Updike book and even one by Philip Roth that I probably won't like. But they take thought and since I mostly read right before I fall asleep, that's difficult.

Below, you will see the location in the house where I typically sit for two hours or more every night. The best way to relax after working in front of a computer all day is to return home and sit in front of your own computer. That's what I do. The desk you see is really a vanity table. My favorite part of this picture is the faux wooden chandelier wall-hanging above the computer. It's from Circle Thrift via Urban Outfitters and I have another one in my bedroom. This is the view of the house you would see if you walked right in and looked to your left. If you looked to your right, you would see a wall.

Next, we have a photo of me looking like I am about to make out with Emma Carol or else strangle her dead. All she's thinking about at the moment is likely the flies she still has yet to catch and eat. She has a one track mind. Well, three tracks--flies and toys and tormenting Henri. I promise that I almost out of cat and house photos.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It's Henri

Everyone loses the name-that-tail contest and now you all have to buy me dinner at DQ instead. And Henri gets to come, which he knows, which is why he's licking his chops.

I just ate a jar of crunchy peanut butter

Here's the thing. I have been eating a lot healthier these days, including adding vegetables to my diet (by which I mean "lettuce"). This is an improvement, believe me, from the last two decades of my eating habits which consisted mainly of microwave popcorn, diet soda, coffee, cigarettes, cheap wine and chocolate (when available from others). So now I have given up all diet soda, most cheap wine, and haven't had chocolate in awhile either (only b/c no one has brought it in). My familiar food companions have been replaced by soy pudding, whole wheat bread, salads, granola bars, organic milk, tons of water and recently I decided to cut up some celery and bring it in for a healthy snack. It is healthy. Celery has about 19 calories per square acre. But you have to eat it with peanut butter and that is not so good. Two tablespoons of pb contain 200 calories. Lots of protein, but also lots of extra fatness. It is so so so good though. I had to restrain myself from clawing out a huge fistful of it just now.

Caught the last thirty seconds of what is perhaps the most boring contest TV show ever, Spelling-B. In case you're blissfully unaware, the challenge of this show is to finish the lyrics of some stupid song. For example, they'll play the first three bars of Ashlee Simpson's latest studio manufactured non-hit and then the contestant has to sing the fourth bar ("...That's why I am better than Jessica" or whatever). I thought this reality/bad game show programming would fizzle out but it appears to be growing ever stronger. Even the two Corey's from 1980s now have a show--it sounds lame too; it's about two has-been child stars living together. It's depressing. I don't mind the more interesting shows. Discovery Health has somewhat intelligent programs, though they are sensational in nature at times (the obesity shows, for instance).

All of this reminds me of the Stephen King-writing-as-Richard-Bachman story in Different Seasons, "The Long Walk." It was a futuristic piece about this televised reality competition. Anyone could take part in it and the winner was promised anything s/he wanted for the rest of her/his life. Sounds good. All you had to do was be the last person walking at a certain rate (3 mph or something--contestants wore pedometers that measured their speed); just keep going until everyone else dropped out. The only catch was that if you stopped or fell below a certain speed for a length of time, you would be shot in the head. The winner then was the last living participant. This was a torturous story, but not so far-fetched now, it seems.

Below, you will note a picture of Ernesto's pudding face as he lays in the middle of my living room floor. If you click on the photo below, you will get to see it in a much larger size and thereby be able to count his whiskers and toes (and mine, which are slightly visible to your right).

Next, my living room as taken from the kitchen (it's all just one giant room). I should mention that the living room is not really this yellow in hue; I just didn't know how to turn on or off the flash. The cats are laid out carefully on the floor, appearing euthanized:

That's really it. Every other picture I add from here on it will be a variation on this theme. I'm not that great at taking pictures (didn't, in fact, take the photo of Ernesto above), but that's because I haven't ever owned a camera--I don't think so anyway.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Name That Tail

First person to answer correctly wins a free dinner paid for by me! At the DQ of your choice! Some time in the near future!

This is the tail of an animal who lives in my very own home. S/he is strategically hiding under my bed (notice the lovely quilt handmade especially for me by my mom) and s/he seems to believe the adage that "out of sight, out of mind" applies completely, especially when s/he can't see you.

I have many more photos taken of my house and will post them every once in awhile until I run out. Maybe by then I will have a digital camera but I wouldn't count on it. In other news, my new/used ipod arrived today. Now I must wait a torturous three hours before I will be home and able to load music onto it. Meanwhile, I found a neat pattern for making a nano case if you're interested. I might make a few for my friends, using this link (for those who have normal-sized ipods).

I wandered around the city on Sat. and Sunday--mostly on South Street Sunday and went into this used bookstore on Bainbridge that has pretty much every book you can imagine. I reread Melanie Rae Thon's short story "First, Body" and marveled again at how she can write so convincingly when the first-person narrator is a male recovering junkie who was in 'Nam. She does it really well though. The narrator in the story works at a hospital as some low-level helper person in the ER and the rule is "first, body. Then brain." Meaning that they get the heart beating again and the guts picked up before they worry about the mind. It's a great title. I need to write something that is completely out of my sphere, just to see how it goes.

Walked through Italian Market too--the place where you can buy anything you want including live crabs, flip-flops, fresh radishes, a pig's head, disgusting gray sausages, baby dolls whose eyes roll back in their heads and little bitty turtles. I resisted all temptations which really wasn't that hard to do except I did see a neat wooden lampstand with carved pineapples on it for $6.99. Didn't buy it though. I have enough crap. Speaking of which, here is a photo of the lamp in my bedroom. I love it dearly:

I leave you with another picture, this time of the front of my house. It is quite beautiful and weedy. Please know that I do not in fact have a satellite dish. I don't know why that's there--must have belonged to the former tenant. The house to the right of me (in the picture) belongs to this skinny white woman who never cleans up the dog poop in her back square of land. It's not a problem now so much because she has vanished--been gone for about a month or more now. The newspapers are piling up on her front steps. I suppose I should pick them up? Yes, I will do that today. To the left (again in the photo) is the home of the little Mexican girl named Avery and her quiet mom and some other people. I saw her outside yesterday with a few other kids. One of the boys had his cat, Pirate, on a leash. I went over to talk for a minute. Another girl said to me about the cat, "Bravo!" and Avery whispered, "Ingles!" So I said defensively, "Yo hablo Espanol. Un poco." I think I frightened them. Avery now has a little fuzzy black dog that is stuck in the back yard and tied to a leash. I have a chair outside now so I can stand on it to lean over the wall to pet the dog every morning. She cries and whines all the time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Little Venus Flytrap

Emma Carol loves nothing more than to catch flies and eat them. I just watched her do it with killer precision about five seconds ago. She also makes a peeping noise whenever she jumps from one place to another which is quite often. She is Tigger. Shawn saw their food bowls the other day and he said, Oh, look, there's the vomitoriam (sp?). Emma does get way too excited when she gets fed. She eats and eats and eats. She doesn't get sick though. She just gets fatter. Ernesto is less of a pig, except for that he gets up in my face if I eat anything on the couch. He dove his head into a bag of tortilla chips and stole one when I wasn't paying attention the other day. Then he ran off to eat it in the corner, like a little starving, abused child. I promise I will not write any more about my cats for awhile.

We had an all-day work conference at the Loews Hotel yesterday and so I was Wireless all day long. I also left my cell phone at work on Thursday and so couldn't be reached in any way. It wasn't liberating. What sucks most is that I'll have to go into work today to retrieve the phone. I suppose I could try to make the trip useful by like going to the library or the gym, but...

I ordered another refurbished ipod nano from the Apple site on Thursday (it's $50 cheaper than a new one). An impulse. My plan was to get another one after I lose ten pounds as a reward, but I managed to rationalize the purchase by telling myself that the ipod would actually make me want to exercise more because I would have my life soundtrack back. This is actually not untrue. It cost $149 for 4 GB. It's bright pink. I put it on my Discover card. It's possible that by the time it arrives, I will have lost the 10 pounds. If I don't eat for the next four days and/or start becoming bulimic. According to my fabulous electronic scale, I am 5 pounds lighter. That's something. I'm going to make a little case for it because otherwise, it gets kind of lost and dirty floating around in my purse. How thrilling.

Off I go into the day.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Word to the Wise

From Irina

Gills or Tails

At lunch the other day, we had an in-depth discussion concerning the following rhetorical question: Would you rather have gills or an animal tail?

You'd think that on the surface, the answer would be fairly clear, because gills are much cooler since they allow you to swim underwater without having to come up for air. However, most people needed a few more specifics. Irina wanted to know what kind of tail it would be. She said, Because if it's a horse tail, I could just grow my hair and let it blend in. And, she pointed out, horse's really have hair instead of fur, so she could cut it and donate it to cancer patients. We decided that it could be a horse tail, if that's what she wanted. She chose gills. Celia wanted to clarification as to where the gills would appear. Like, it would be much nicer if the gills were on your sides, somewhere inconspicuous. It might be a more difficult choice if the gills were in your neck and if they puffed out when you got emotional. That might make them a much less attractive choice. If I had to have a tail, I would like a thin cat tail, like a cheetah maybe. Of course, I'd probably develop the bad habit of chewing on the end of it so it would be all raggedy.

Celia had another question--would you rather lose a foot or lose your sense of taste? We almost all said we would rather lose our sense of taste, because going footless would make us less attractive to the opposite sex. Isn't that sad? I can see most guys being like, I'll go without the foot! I'll get a prosthetic foot and like, use it as a weapon. We did have to probe the question a little more...Did not having a sense of taste mean we would also lose our sense of smell? Because if not, Celia said that she would just always eat with the plate up against her nose. See, we're always looking for the loophole.

This guy I work with told me today that Graham Green wrote 500 words per day, whether he was feeling well or not, at home or abroad, with or without an idea. And he would stop exactly at the 500th word. I think that's awesome. I write about 250 words or maybe more--two notebook pages a day, but it's all journaling. My journals lately have been colossally boring, consisting mainly of entries about how often I exercised or what I ate or maybe a dream I had the previous night (you will be relieved to learn that I won't go in-depth about my dreams; just know that they are almost always stressful and often involve me driving a car under duress).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Your Cheating Heart

Jodie has this really cute t-shirt with a girl on a motorcycle and it reads "My Other Ride is Your Boyfriend." I want one of those (she also has a t-shirt that Padhraig gave her that says "Fuck Yoga"). I don't currently own any t-shirts with sayings on them, except for the one that Dave had made for me one year that has "help me" on it.

Okay, so I confess that I watched Age of A-holes again last night. I honestly had to look away from the TV on more than one occasion. I couldn't bear to watch the women's plastic faces as they applied yet another layer of foundation before going out on a group date to the beach with the guy of indeterminate pedigree (actually, I believe he's Italian-Australian). I am starting to feel sorry for him. He does have cute dimples and he is always opening his eyes widely, shocked by the different ways that the women have of making idiots of themselves. Here's something else I don't understand: what's the deal with boob jobs? There's this one girl who is somewhat cute, Amanda, but she has this horrible horrible horrible horrible boob job wherein each breast stands alone at attention with this very weird empty space between it. You could easily remove one of the breasts and use it as a tennis ball. It just looks fake and alien on her body. So, supposedly this show is meant to illustrate the differences between 20 year olds and 40 year olds, but somehow, they've managed to pick the exact same 40 year old persona for each woman in that age range. She is: tough, has long hair, doesn't take shit from anyone, speaks her mind, works out 10 hours a day, has had an itsy bitsy smidge of plastic surgery to get rid of her wrinkles, acts aggressively, knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go for it! In other words, she's a bitch of a broad who's just as shallow and ridiculous as any of the younger women. Or maybe that's what happens at 40+. You say things like, I'm an elderly woman who speaks her mind! and then you shove your tongue down the guy's throat to prove it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Taking Drugs and What-Not

We were talking today at lunch about drugs--pushers we have known and loved, boyfriends with habitual pot use and bad trips that may or may not have been caused by drugs laced with cyanide (Mom: those other girls were talking about it, not me. Although I know you have used pot before, so you can't get too mad if I considered doing it like once or twice). I don't know why I didn't turn into a stoner. Well, yes, I do. I was a goodie-goodie. And drugs scared the hell out of me. Every eleven year old should be made to read Go Ask Alice, the supposed real diary of a girl who is slipped LSD at a party one night and becomes a total druggie in a matter of minutes. That book single-handedly kept me bff with Chuckie the Canine Drug Dog at elementary and middle school. And then in high school, I didn't hang out with a crazy wild crowd. I do remember that I got drunk the first time ever with my friend down the street Wallis, but it was ridiculous. We didn't know what we were doing and so we poured mixed drinks and they tasted terrible and then we both cried and I went home and collapsed on my bed refusing the meat loaf for dinner. The next time I drank was probably with Jennifer in 10th grade. I think we drank beer. I remember we got her mom to take us to the mall and both of us were wearing these matching jogging outfits (both hers. She always had way cooler clothes than I did) and she made me laugh so hard that I peed my pants. ONLY A LITTLE! I had to go into the mall bathroom to turn the pants around so that the wet spot wouldn't show. When I came out of the stall, Jen was lying in the chair pretending to be asleep. She said, I fell asleep. Where am I? I almost peed again. She could always make me laugh the most. Didn't even drink that much in college and then after college, when I moved to Chicago, I dated a guy for two years who was an alcoholic. A very sweet man, wiry and in shape (he ran 10 miles a day and competed in marathons), but he drank Absolut on the rocks every night until he passed out. He once embarrassed me completely by spilling an entire bottle of red Gatorade on Jen's carpet before passing out. They had to get the carpet replaced. I can't remember if we ever paid them back or not. She was very cool about it, but I felt like a jerk. We had a very emotional break up. He tried to quit drinking, went to A.A. and everything, but I discovered vodka one night in his glass of water and couldn't stop crying. He weaved in the doorway, saying, Why are you being so dramatic? Why are you acting like Lady MacBeth? (He was a well-read drunk). He would be almost fifty years old now, if he's still alive.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Buy Me a Digital Camera Someone

It probably wouldn't be a very good idea for me to have a digital camera b/c then every entry to this blog would include a slightly blurry photograph of one of my cats. And really, they don't do anything interesting at all. They walk around and lay down and stare out the window or hide under the bed. That's it. But I still want a digital camera. I'm sure I would take lots of pictures of myself too since it's so easy to delete them. I'd only keep the good ones. I would seriously probably take 500 pictures in a row to get one that I liked.

My coworker Joe gave blood today and he won't shut up about it. Apparently, the nurse did this thing where she took out extra blood, then removed the special important blood globules and stuck the plasma back into his veins and he could feel the plasma and the saline circulating through his bloodstream because it was cold. The last time I gave blood was probably in college. I had a bad experience where the needle wasn't in place and the blood was leaking out and it hurt. I told the nurse and instead of fixing it, she yanked the needle out and said, Well, let's try the other arm them. Afterwards, I had huge bruises (we doctors refer to this as "hematomas") on both arms. I felt very holy. I never did it again. I can justify this because my blood type is AB+, universal receiver. What that means is that I can receive any blood type, but only AB+ people can receive my blood. My donating is like a kajillionaire using coupons at the grocery store. It doesn't make much of an impact overall. That's how I justify my selfish hoarding of my hemoglobin, anyway.

I have been thinking about writing a short story about the time I worked at a non profit organization which shall remain nameless because the woman who runs it is the kind of person who would spend thousands and millions of dollars to sue someone for making a veiled reference to the company in an obscure blog.

The story would have to center around some type of nonprofit, but I'm not sure which one...I had an idea the other day, but I can't remember now. Oh, yes, something to do with children who have cancer. I haven't really started writing it, though I did think of one scene. They have a child whose photograph they use to raise awareness about leukemia and I imagined the woman looking at the poster and saying:

"Can't you find a kid who looks a little sicker? This one has rosy cheeks and she's plump."

"But she is ill. The family just found out that the cancer is back."

"Well, I'm sorry to hear that, but she looks fine. We plaster her face everywhere and people are going to go, 'Those kids don't seem too bad off! Let's give to the AIDS people this year instead.'"

There would also be an inept, bungling manager who is a born again and keeps tracts from his church on his desk and he's also in the closet in a very obvious way. The problem with the story though is that you can't make everyone a jerk because then the central narrator is just this victim. I'll have to think about it more.

Save a life! Donate one, people!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Reading Recommendations

1. The Dow Jones Industrial Report by Farmers

2. What is the What by Dave Eggers

3. The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini (haven't read this but it was recommended by a very literary person)

4. Temple Review, our quarterly alumni magazine

5. Jasmine by Bharahti Mukherjee (from my summer grad class)

6. Equus but don't read the play, go see it starring a naked Harry Potter (see previous post)

Meanwhile, I continue to slog through The Da Vinci Code, reading probably fifty pages before bed. It's an easy read, particularly if you're someone like me who skips some of the description and the historical stories which are the crux of the book.

Disclaimer: Don't read any further if you plan on getting the book, but really, who cares, the book isn't very good.

According to ancient druid legend/historical truth, Mary Magdalene was a true companion of (read: married to) Jesus Christ. The story of her being a whore is something made up to take away from her standing. She and Jesus were actually both members of very rich houses as in, the House of David and the House of James (or whomever). This is confusing to me because of the whole being born in a manger thing. That aspect has not been discussed, but my best guess is that the idea of the stable birth was another convenient invention. Apparently, a bunch of men also chose Jesus to be the prophet, the supposed son of God. I like many of the feminist aspects of the book and of course have no problem with the author criticizing Catholicism or Christianity. Gotta run.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Age of Aging

I accidentally watched that reality show about the forty-year old and twenty-year old women competing for one cheesy guy with an indeterminate accent. Is he Australian? British? Irish? Or does he just have a speech impediment? I'll tell you that if he had a Bronx brogue, he would be less attractive--he's built like a cheesy Italian dude, slicked back hair, out of control eyebrows, and a huge face. But of course, all the women pretend to love him. The big competition is that this 30 year old ambassador of cheddar cheese from Swedizterland has to decide who he likes; the old ladies or the young hot chicks. The women are really interchangeable despite the age difference. Oh, and one of the younger ones keeps bursting into tears but I think she's just PMS-ing. The older women understand. They are having pre-menopausal hot flashes. Last night, the girls/old maids had to compete in a triatholon on a tandem bike and a surf board. I forget who won, but the very blond girl who closely resembled Kelly from 90210 twisted her ankle and had to walk on crutches for the rest of the show. She got the one on one date with him where they laid around on huge pillows and then she freaked him out by telling him that she knows he has a serious crush on Sara/Lisa/Martha Washington and she doesn't want to get in the way of true like, unless he like, likes her more or whatever. He kicked her off the show.

In other news, the cats are lying around flat on the floor, dying of heat prostration. All the heat records have been broken across America and yet...And yet not one newscaster says a goddamn thing about global warming. Not even as a joke, not even to maybe just bring it up, to state the f-ing obvious. Emma Carol is barely able to get her fat round stumpy self around anywhere. Shawn pointed out the other day that she's so cute because she's like Pippi Longstocking. She is. She's all loosey goosey and a little crazy and impolite but adorable. I have to yell at her every night because while I'm reading before bed, she jumps on the bed and wants to snuggle, but she won't stop licking my arm. It's okay for about five seconds, but then I can't stand it and have to kick her off. She bounces off the mattress and sprint-wobbles off to find further adventures with her monkey.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Is it wrong to have a crush on a 13 year old boy?

I didn't think so! Not when that 13 year old boy is Harry Potter. He's magic! He's really like 15 maturity level-wise. No, truthfully, I haven't followed the Harry Potter craze. I believe I read the first book and liked it fine and could see why it would be popular for kids, but I have never seen one of the movies, though I feel like I have because they always play so many trailers before each one is released. Well, I think it was Liz who asked me if I wanted to see the movie and I gave her a lukewarm reaction, so she dis-invited me. But the girls on Go Fug Yourself featured two of the little girl actors on their site and this led me to look up the Harry Potter page and then I realized that Harry Potter is going through adolescence (there are several pictures of him, including one where he kisses this girl) and I bet all of the producers of the movie series are so happy that he didn't turn out to be totally ugly. You can't know for sure. If I had been casting the movie way back when, knowing that were about 20 more to follow, I would've insisted on auditioning the entire genealogy. Like, let's see your brothers and sisters, how did they turn out? What about a picture of your grandpa as a young lad in trousers at the beach? How was he at age 13? Because 13 is a risky, risky time. The kid could've turned out to have really bad acne or his face could've reshaped in a funny way or he could've gotten fat or whatever. But seriously, if I were a preteen girl, I would probably cry myself to sleep at the unfairness of me not being able to know Harry Potter in real life or not getting to meet the actor who plays him or not getting the role of Hermione. I would honestly find this to be unfair, in the same way that I found it unfair in real life when I realized that Luke Skywalker and I would not kiss, not ever (I got over it by Empire Strikes Back because then I was in love with Han Solo and couldn't believe how immature I had been to think Luke was the one I wanted. From then on, it was all about the bad boys. That has not yet changed in my life).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I disdain bestsellers (and only read them in the bookstore)

That is not entirely true. I started reading a copy of the uber popular The DaVinci Code the other night--Liz gave it to me among the books she was casting off and I had a sneer on my face for the first several chapters. An albino? Really? Haven't albinos endured enough? You never ever see an albino playing a good guy unless he's like really meant to be Andy Warhol. Then you also have these stock figures--the crooked, fairly ineffectual law figure, the earnest, tough as nails sexy brilliant woman with the mysterious past, and the well-liked, rumpled and attractive central character. I wonder if the main guy (Robert?) and the cartographer will get it on? Also the chapters are really short as though the writer doesn't trust that he can sustain the readers interest without cutting back and forth between these different scenes. In addition, so far, the characters do things that scream "exposition;" behaving like these puppets the writer is manuipulating to explain something to the reader.

"What do you mean the code is a secret code?"

Liz just called, must run! More later.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Old journals, bad boyfriends

Instead of writing yesterday on my day off, I reread these old yellow writing tablets circa 1996 when I lived in Chicago and worked at the law school. They are alternately funny and terrifying--have I learned nothing? Very little. One of my bestest friends from that time was a very funny and silly and adorable girl Annie McConnell--she was also an excellent writer. We met in a writing workshop at Northwestern and I wanted to be her friend right away because she always wore the best shoes. Anyway, she forced me to make a list of the reasons not to date this guy anymore. Here's the list:

1. He's an asshole.
2. He doesn't deserve me.
3. He will someday tie me to a bed and set me on fire.
4. It makes Annie sick to think of me being nice to him when he's treated me like shit.
5. She thinks we should spit in his fat, ugly, pasty face.
6. He's also a creep, a loser, a psychotic mania, a freak.

I remember he also met my neighbor boy--this painter who I shared a window with. He painted these gigantic self-portraits of himself naked. He was funny and too young and we never kissed though he did give me a can of soup for dinner once. I used to lay in bed at night, listening to him talk really loudly on his phone and I would smile whenever he said something funny as though I were in the room with him. Anyway, Painter Boy met this guy once. I ran into PG in the hallway after work one day and told him I had decided to break up with him.

He said, Good. That guy was hostile. He was definitely trying to get a reaction by what he was talking about.

I said, What was he that again?

He said, Remember? All the different kinds of poop?

I laugh every time I read that.

Another transcription from my journal. This was near the beginning of the relationship when I was still trying to decide if he was really funny or really scary.

He said, How did your eyes get so big? Your eyes are bigger than my head.

I said, That should sound like a compliment, but somehow, it doesn't.

He said, You're beautiful. I flashed on Mark who used to brush my hair out of my face and proclaim, You're pretty. Also, last night, when he had his arms wrapped tight around me, he said, You're so skinny. Don't you eat? He felt the individual bones along my spine. He also told me last night that Gretel has a great face. She does. She does have a great face.

Later, and not even much later, he turned into someone else completely. He enumerated for me the reasons I wasn't hot enough to appear in Playboy, one of which was that I wasn't thin enough. To my credit, I broke up with him after that. We also had a fight on the subway once wherein he announced to me (and the entire train car) that he had experimented with men. When I reacted with surprise, he accused me of being homophobic.

Didn't discover much in the way of old fiction that would be worthwhile, though there's one line I like in this story about a waitress. She's flirting with the bartender and he asks her to tell him a secret, something on one else knows about her. "I roll up the sleeve of my shirt. 'See that mole? It's really a birthmark.'"

Thursday, July 5, 2007

For Jen

Here's my email to my bestest friend in high school...We just recently got in touch and she wrote me back. Her responses are in caps (slightly edited to protect the not so innocent):

Jen A Bee! Sorry for the delay in responding--I am have a crazy couple of
weeks, though that's no real excuse. You were in my dream last night--I was
at my home in Florida and you dropped off a package that had all these
photos in it that showed what you'd been doing for the last 10 years.

How much more obvious could a dream be? You looked really cute--same Jen,
curly hair and well put together outfit.

I can't believe Haley is on the pill. Isn't she still like 7 years old?

Do you ever hear from Tina McIntosh?

Did I tell you I got a random email from
Adam Zimmerman about a week ago? He mentioned Tina. Why was everyone in love


Mom is fine and Don is still alive and kicking. He now sports a moustache
which makes him seem like a kindly old man. How's
your mom doing? Remember how you used to rake the carpet rather than vacuum?

She never knew the diff.

Best best to Eric and Haley and I suppose Tess isn't around anymore.

Gretel died last August at the age of 17, still naughty and sweet to the


Write when you can!

xxoo, miss you,


PS. I'll write about our high school adventures in my next blog entry,



Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July

I am having an extremely difficult time getting motivated today. Stayed up too late last night watching back-to-back episodes of Bravo's Kathy Griffin show. I had no idea she was so funny or that she swore so much in her stand up. She has had too much plastic surgery, but I like her a lot and think we would be fast friends. I have the next two days off from work and am hoping to work on a short story for the four week class that starts next Tuesday. I have a piece I found the other day about some cowboy named Colby. I have no idea where the idea came from or when I wrote it, but it's not horrible. I also need to work on the organ donation story. With like 14 more drafts, it could be readable.

Per a recommendation from Health magazine, I signed up for this thing called sparkpeople.com--it's an online health and fitness page that helps you track what you eat, how often you exercise, how much water you drink, etc. They have an extremely user friendly system. They even provide you with a grocery list. It's a perfect system for me, especially since it has a built in reward mechanism that consists of gathering points each time you do something healthy (exercise, read an article or watch a video about better health, check message boards). For each 100 points you build or whatever, you get another kind of trophy. It's ridiculous, but I am highly motivated by this kind of thing. The down side is that I'm drinking much more water and so now need a catheter to get around. You'd think that your bladder could hold 8 glasses of water without constantly needing attention, but that is not the case. I've stopped drinking soda and also haven't had any alcohol for 10 days, a new record for me. There's just too many calories in wine and beer. Something must be working because I've lost 2 pounds in 4 days. My goal is to weigh 78 pounds like Nicole Richie. No, really, I would like to lose 20 pounds. Even ten would be great. Even five. Most of my cardio exercise lately has consisted of walking which would be fine if I hadn't broken my i-Pod. All I have to listen to now is this tiny transistor radio thing that gets exactly two stations clearly--the Spanish and the Jesus channel. I could probably by a CD Walkman for not very much money. Maybe I'll do that today. Or maybe I'll save it as a reward for when I get down 3 more pounds. And then if I lose 10, I can get another iPod. Or Mom could buy me one...Yes, Mother? My God, I have to pee again.

You know who really needs to go on a diet is Emma Carol. She is a fat poppet. I am going to buy her little kitty weight anklets. She is the funniest cat ever--very licky and oftentimes, I'll look over at her lolling about on the floor with the pink of her tongue showing. She still doens't now her name and neither does Ernesto. I keep saying, You're Emma! She doesn't respond. She only answers if I offer her a bit of steak tartar.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Name the Baby Contest!!!

I have two friends who are currently gestating and both will need to name their offspring at some point. Jess and Kali are both expecting in the fall or the winter, around a few months from now. I don't think either one of them wants to know the gender of the baby before he/she/it is born, so we have to come up with stellar names for both boys and girls. I always want the baby to be a girl. Always. But then Julie had Owen and I realized that I always want the baby to be a girl unless the baby is Owen. I have used up all of my favorite names on cats, Emma, Gretel, Henri, Ernesto, and Fido. But there are still a few names that I would consider. I suppose we could start with the most obvious popular girl names: Lyndsey, Paris, Nicole, Ashley, Mary Kate and Kiera. Or, we could go with the most obvious popular girl names from the 80s-90s: Molly, Winona, Courtney, Ally, and Kate. For boys from the 80s: Rob (Jess can't use this because it's her dad and her brother's name), Jude, Andrew, James, Michael. Or we could try for literary: Jane, Meg, Jo, Beth, Katherine, Tess of the Dubervilles alongside Heathcliff, Wuthering, Colin Firth, and Mr. Darcy. Oh, Jess, please name your baby Mr. Darcy!

Scott likes Nora and I like Nora too, because it reminds me of Nick and Nora and their little dog Asta. He also likes Jack or Jane, and I too love Jane, Jack is okay too, but isn't that short for something? Jackson? John? And you must consider what kind of nicknames they could get. So, Jack could get Jumping Jack Flash or Jack Rabbit or Jackie Chan or Jack of All Trades or Jack in the Box or Jack Me Up! Jane could be Plain Jane. But...I can't really think of anything else bad about Jane. Jane, jane, it looks like rain. How bad would that be? Hey, Jane, where's Dick? See, harmless.

Here are a few random names from namemyunbornbaby.com:
Laban (Hebrew which means "white")

Pageen (Gaelic for Pearl)

Boy or Girl:

Sunday, July 1, 2007

De ja vu all over again

I am having an off-day because I keep having the de ja vu (the clinical name for it is "simple partial seizures"). It's a form of epilepsy, characterized in my case by extreme de ja vu. It's an odd sensation, not entirely unpleasant but disconcerting because during the seizure (lasts between 10-25 seconds), I have the feeling that I dreamt all of this before, that I am in a dream state again, everything is odd and significant and connected to something important, but then the seizure fades and I can't remember anything I was just thinking about. No image, no word, nothing, though during the seizure, it's very poignant and I feel sick and out of it, actually experience a tingling in my arm and an out of body sensation (it just happened again as I was typing this). Maybe it's closer to five seconds, but I have to stop and wait it out. I feel fine once it's over, maybe a tinge nauseous and it's probably making me more tired than I would normally feel at this hour. I can treat it with medication, but it happens so infrequently; about once every two months and it'll last for a day or two and then fade. I think this series started last night during my sleep. It always seems related to a sleep state and to my dreams and has a continuity to it, like each series is related to all that have gone before them. Still, I can't tell you one single thing about what I'm thinking about or remembering at that moment. There's a phrase that repeats and I can sometimes recall it, but not at the moment. Something like, "It's up to me" or...that's not right, I don't know what it is.
It's interesting and doesn't get in the way too much, except I can't really concentrate on my paper that's due tomorrow and that's too bad because I was enjoying writing it earlier. Fuck.

Jess left me a message the other day saying that she reads my blog regularly and sometimes finds herself irritated with me when I haven't posted. I love Jess. She is having a baby. I hope she will name him/her after me or at least let me contribute to the naming process. Is Liam overused? Will it make everyone believe they're Irish? Will they pick something Biblical like Jebediah or Emmaneul? Sarah? She and Scott are creative, so I feel like they'll come up with something good or they may use a family name. What about Abigal? Then every can call her "Abby," though there's the danger that she'll be labeled "Gabby" and though I suspect their child will be gabby, it's not the best name. My friend Kali is also having a baby so maybe the two will grow up and fall in love and all my friends will be united forever as one. Aimee is French and Latin in origin and means "beloved" or "to love." In case you were wondering.