Friday, August 31, 2007

Mommy, Why are There So Many Chicken Bones in the Street?

I found out that answer today while riding home on the subway. A regular commuter man got on with a greasy paper bag. He promptly pulled out a piece of fried chicken and started eating it. He tried to get most of it in the bag so as not to leave a mess, but then he had to rush off at the Market East stop and left behind a forlorn wing. It seems particular to Philadelphia to see these chicken bones lying against the curb or on the sidewalk, and now I have seen it happen myself. I also watched an old couple, small and stooped over about the size of fourth-graders step carefully on the train and sit next to a gigantic black man who looked like he was a little mortified, as though someone might think they were all traveling together.

The little black dog from my neighbor's house has disappeared. I noticed a couple of days ago that the barking had stopped and then I peered over the wall and saw that everything had been cleared away; the canvas, the dog bowl, the bone. Avis and her friends were in the back playing when I got home today (and still are), so I asked her about Moxe. She said that her mom gave her away to someone who had a bigger yard. I confess that I am relieved. She was a sweet dog, but didn't ever get walked or played with and was miserable. I choose to believe that she's really in a better place.

They keep getting these pets and then not being able to care for them. Remember the cat Diego? I heard a squawk outside when I got home and thought, Oh, God, now they have a parrot! Luckily, it was just the kids playing.

They are currently still out back playing restaurant. I gave them some blue plastic cups, a spatula, a tray, and a few random cans of things to add to the mix. Every once in a while, they'll yell my name and I have to go out there and see what's going on. For instance, they just called me and I went out there and they all jumped up and said, Surprise! and handed me a tray with Cheetos and cookies on it. I am the most popular lady in the neighborhood, truly.

Tonight, Kelly and I are going to the Temple v. Navy game because Liz so generously offered tickets. I love college football, but I don't know if I will love this game because Temple is so so bad.

Julie was helping me look for outfits to wear to my readings (State College of Jan. 23 and U of N. Texas on Feb. 12). I have decided that I'm allowed to spend some money on something nice. I wish, wish someone would give me a free ticket to shop at Nannette Lepore who has the coolest (and most expensive) clothes. But we found some good things at Anthropolgie and J. Crew (not counting the crew neck short sleeved tunic Julie picked out. I had to ask her if she thought I was supposed to be impersonating Shakespeare). She also suggested that my next project be a teen book, ala Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Bloom. I guess I could try that, but I feel like my readers would be appalled (especially if I wrote from experience) and become suicidal. You could not pay me enough money to go back and be fourteen years old again.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mamacita

Somehow, I have become the most popular blanco mujer on my block. It happened gradually. First, I made friends with Aivlis (pronounced "Avis"), the seven year old Mexican girl who lives next door to me. We bonded over her cat Diego, who has since disappeared (died?). Then, I met her cousins: Stephanie, Melanie, Christian, Memo and others. One day, I invited Avis into my house to meet Ernesto and Emma. Then Melanie (who is about 3) wanted to pet Emma, though she's a little scared of cats, so I found myself sitting on the front steps with Emma, surrounded by children. Melanie is very cute. I said to her, Beso el gato, and she kissed Emma on the tail. When I say I have to go in, she frequently says, No! Please...(it's one word of English that she seems to know. She typically talks to me in Spanish and I pretend to understand or ask Avis what she has said). After Diego the gato disappeared, Avis' family bought a little boy fuzzy black dog named Moxe. They keep him tied up in the back. He has a swimming pool to play in, but the mom told me that they can't walk him because he hasn't had his shots. I put a chair outside near the wall so that I can peek over and pet him. Now, I've started to buy the dog things--toys and bones--mostly to keep him from barking, which he does incessentantly if not otherwise occupied. Today, Liz took me to Target and I found myself browsing through the dog section. I bought Moxe a bone for $2.99 and gave it to Avis when I got home (she was outside playing when Liz dropped me off). Then I ran to the corner store (also Mexican) and on my way back, I saw that the Mom was the front step. She smiled and said, Thank you. I said, Oh, I always think of the el perro when I'm at the store. Que quiere? She laughed. Is it wrong to be generous because I want them to like me and because I think they'll look after me? Tell the truth.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Global Warming = An Excellent Way to Lose Weight

I took the train into Wayne, PA today to attend Jess' baby shower and lost approximately four .5 pounds in the process because the heat was unbearable. I wasn't even walking that fast, but when I arrived at my first stop in the trip (the Broad Street Line), my hair was matted to my head ala some chick from a Robert Palmer video. Luckily, Jess' mom had the air on full blast. There were three full grown babies in attendance, plus 2 soon to be born babies (Jess' and her friend Stephanie's). I was given the honor of recording the gifts, though I'm not sure I did the best job as I was too distracted by the baby books. I am sure I did better than at Julie's shower where I drank four glasses of wine and then insisted on writing up the presents so that Julie got a list that read: "Blanket from Aunt with the big mole and something that rattles...nother blanket...rattle...diapers or something that resembles diapers...another present from that one lady..." Lucy was there and she remembered me and seemed glad to see me (I can tell this b/c she sneezed on me multiple times, her way of saying, I missed you). Came home and then went to dinner at Padhraig and Carrie's; a quite delicious, spicy meal consumed in their lovely, air conditioned home. After supper, we watched a few episodes of AMC's Mad Men, a show that takes place in the 1950s. Everyone smokes all the time and the women wear gorgeous, form-fitting dresses. On the walk home, I passed a poster that read, "Please, please, please help us find our lost kitty" and then I ran into a stray Tom who looked similar to the poster except his ears were bobbed so I sat on the curb, trying to coax him out from under a car and petting him. A guy stopped and said, Is that your cat? I said, No, you take him. You take this cat. I already have three strays at home. I am otherworldly tired of the stray cats in South Philly. They are everywhere. It makes me sad and angry and worried that I will start to take them all in and become engulfed in a huge wad of cat hair. Meanwhile, just realized recently that it's the anniversary of Gretel's death which might explain why she's in so many dreams of mine and lately and possibly why I feel so blue.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Hills (TV Show ) Like White Elephants

Though I am usually not the most discerning viewer, I cannot stand to watch any of MTV's faux reality show, The Hills. Usually, I am fine with this kind of slick programming and I didn't mind Laguna Beach (the show's predecessor) that much, but not only is The Hills even more stilted than LB, it's also completely boring. It's mostly just this extended montage of close-ups of pretty girls staring off into space as though thinking.

Scene: Lauren's bedroom. Lauren and Allyson or Chelsea or Brigitta or Whomever are sitting on Lauren's bed, both wearing tank tops, headbands, and shiny lip gloss.

Lauren: So, like, what's up with Steve?

A/C/B: Who's Steve again?

(Close up of Lauren's face. We see her chew gum intently. Cut to: close up of ACB's face)

Lauren: Who?

A/C/B: Did you just ask me what's up with Steve? Because I'm not sure who Steve is. Is he that blond guy we met at that club?

Lauren: You mean Cameron? What about him? Do you like him?

A/C/B: Wait, aren't you going out with him?

(Repeat the two close ups)

Lauren: Oh, yeah.

Cut to: Another inane scene featuring that dumb girl Heidi and her pretend fiance Spencer (I am appalled that I remember their names) who is perhaps the most loathsome character on reality TV next to Puck from Real World.

(How old am I?)

But I am in love with Clean House, a make-over show where Niecey Nash from Reno 911 and a crew of others descend upon a house plagued by excessive cluttering. Last night, they aired a two-hour special because the focus was on the "Messiest House in the Country." A widow and her two grown daughters and their 500 pounds of junk. They all shared this hoarding psychosis, for real. It was kind of disturbing. The depressing thing is that you know as soon as the crew leaves, the families are likely to start throwing stuff on the floor again and not picking up their clothes and the whole thing will be back to looking bad in one month's time. However, the show did inspire me to throw out this broken stool and a stupid plastic Ikea bathroom cabinet that I'd been holding onto. I never ever want to be one of those people. I know I have a tendency to accumulate kitschy things, but I am really trying not to do that as much.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Daisy and Henry Miller

Classes start next week and I'm signed up for a graduate course called The Short Novel. My friend Molly is in it too and so I suppose we'll be competing to see who can answer the most question correctly during class. The first two books we're reading are Daisy Miller by Henry James and The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I've read the Chopin book but not the one about Daisy. I think I might hate Henry James, but maybe not; I vaguely recall trying to wade through The Turn of the Screw and being disappointed because I'd heard that it was scary (has a couple of dead kids in it maybe?), but the voice was so muted and detailed that I couldn't engage in it at all. Or maybe that was the book version of The Way We Were. I am having an interior battle about taking the writing workshop this semester; I really enjoyed it, but it runs kind of late (6:30-9:30) and it might mean having to drive to work on that day and I am always exhausted, etc., etc. However, I did get a story out of it last time. However again, I might be taking a graduate writing class in the spring...

Here is a link to a video from the funniest show on TV today, Flight of the Conchords. Celia and Irena introduced me to them, because they are both spoiled and have HBO. Not a one of us can decide which of the two guys we like better, they are both great. Very, very funny.

Last night was Kelly's birthday and so we met at Drinker's Pub where we were waited on by a little bitty punked-out waitress named Casey who wore a hoodie and had a few piercings. She was very efficient. I found a guy for Kelly to make out with, but she wasn't interested in him. Then there was this other guy in there named William who was married but wore no wedding ring and was talking about how his wife is a total bitch but he loves his two kids. We circulated asking people to write down one or two things she really should do this year. Kelly ix-nay-ed several of them for good reasons. I added a few like "make Aimee a dress" though I am not holding my breath on that one and really, I should learn to make my own dress.

It's eerily quiet in here today b/c Joe's on vacation and Alberta is out sick and Ingrid and Stephanie have been running around to meetings all day and Greg is fairly quiet all the time. I can't stop glancing out my window though I don't have the best view--just the stream of traffic up Broad Street. Students will be returning soon and I'm kind of excited to see them. They are the cutest and it's interesting too, to count the eating disorders (saw two today).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Virgin Mary's and Dead Pedestrians

Saturday, my new work friend, Stephanie, met me at the Germantown train line and we drove to this huge thrift store Celia told me about. I am spoiled by Circle Thrift because I now get overwhelmed when clothes aren't organized at least by color. Luckily, I had visited CT before going to the station and bought a pair of black Mary Janes, a tshirt with a unicorn on it that reads "Florida," and a Virgin Mary. The t-shirt I will only wear to work out in. It is just like the kind I used to have to make when I worked at a beach store in Clearwater. People could come in an pick from 100 plus transfers and then I would have to iron it on without burning anything. The Virgin Mary attracted me for sort of the same nostalgic reason. VM are omnipresent in South Philadelphia windows; virtually every other window features at least one Mary with her hands out as if she are saying, What? I didn't ask to be put here. I bought one to put in my window for three reasons (1). I kind of like the Virgin Mary; (2). I have this idea that no one will break into my house if the VM is watching them; (3). I want to fit in with my neighbors. Stephanie thought of a fourth reason: A potential crook might assume from the statue that I'm a grandma and have nothing much to steal aside from musty afghans. Unfortunately, shortly after I bought the Mary, I discovered that her head had fallen off. Not to worry, I glued it back on with wood glue later in the day. She wears the traditional blue robe and has sparkles around her neck and waist. Whoever owned her before painted in her eyes and gave her a very red dot of a mouth so she looks like she's just finished feasting on the blood of a recently slaughtered lamb. We didn't find much at the Germantown store (I bought a tank top I'll never wear for $1.50 and Stephanie bought 3 books at a quarter each. I can't remember the other two, but one was Updike's Rabbit Redux), but we did stop at this cool place on the way back called Material Culture; a gigantic storeroom with interesting and affordable furniture with sort of an Eastern theme. They even offered us chocolate cake, coffee, and then a man was circling around with warm tea in clear glasses. It was a nice find.

Today, I went out again to the coffee shop and to walk around. I only had $5 (my new bank card still hasn't been mailed to me) and so had to ration out my spending. I resisted a couple of impulses to buy yet more crap from Urban Outfitters. I was looking for Buffalo Exchange when I passed a woman who was lying prone on her back on the sidewalk with a little bit of something coming out of the side of her mouth. I thought it might be part of the sandwich she was still holding in her hand. Her eyes were half open and she had her knees up, but she looked strange--possibly dead. She was with another man with a walker, but he didn't say anything and didn't seem distressed in any way. She was also wearing a nightgown. Her hair was cut short and she had these awful badly done tattoos on her arms which were lying open. She was older, maybe in her late fifties or early sixties. I felt conflicted. Earlier, I had passed a man passed out in the grass near the Acme, but he's always there and just seems to be peacefully sleeping by the stop sign. This seemed different. I asked this guy who was passing by if he thought we should do anything. He said, About what? and kept going. There was an African American woman standing waiting for the bus and so I asked her the same thing. She said, "You know, I was just thinking that too, but I don't have a phone. That woman, she doesn't look like she's living anymore." I called 911 and suddenly became like someone on E.R. or Law and Order and said to the operator "I'm at 19th and Chestnut and there's a woman here who has suffered a possible drug overdose. Over." Someone else had called her in as well, because a fire truck pulled up before I even finished the call. I watched for a moment as the firmen bent over her and they were putting an oxygen mask on her face, so maybe she wasn't dead. The woman I had spoken to said, "Thank you. Thank you for doing that." I said, "Well, thank you for encouraging me. I might not have otherwise."

It's the City of Brotherly Love.

Virgin Mary

Friday, August 17, 2007

Butterfly of Society

C'est moi. Not really, though I did go to Center City Sips on Wednesday with Stephanie and her teacher friends and their guys. We met at Marathon Grill where the specialty cocktails were $4, wine was $3, and beer a mere $2. I ordered something containing gin, ambrosia, cointreau and PCP. It tasted terrible;like gasoline and paint thinner, but I drank it anyway, in part because we had already sent one drink back and in part because I kept thinking it would get better (it did not). Also, it meant that it took me a half hour longer to finish my drink by which time the rest of the crowd had moved on to their fifth order. On the plus side, I was able to breath fire and entertain the crowd. Then I ordered a raspberry cosmopolitan without the raspberry flavor and the server said icily, You mean you want a cosmopolitan? Yes, HAHAHA, sorry! Why am I always intimidated by service peeps? Well, mostly it's bartenders who make me feel like they're doing me a favor by serving me. I felt very gracious to the waitress/bartender b/c she came by to take the order of the people behind us and I noticed she had whipped cream on her thumb and so wordlessly handed her a napkin. She took it and I felt that possibly I had won her over, though nothing changed in her demeanor.

I have this weird conflict when I'm walking to the subway in the morning, especially if I decide to go beyond my normal subway stop and walk for an addition 20 minutes or so up to the Walnut/Locust stop. On the longer trips, I pass by more people, such as worker dudes in their Carhartt overalls and yellow construction boots. Half the time, they will stop and look at me and the other half of the time, they don't. I find myself offended either way. If they don't stare at me, I think, What the hell? Aren't I cute enough? Do they think they're hotter than me? And if they do stare, I am contemptuous for the opposite reason, Who are these jerks, looking at me as if I would ever date them? How dare they! They cannot win. Still, I think it would be funny to wear a hidden camera one day (in what? My straw boater?) and take up these guys on there "hello's" or whistles. You know, stop to chat. Say, Hey, hi, what's up? How are you? Are you married? You're cute, did you want to go out some time? Give me your number and we'll get together. I'm not a prostitute or anything, I just like your approach.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

E-Cards

My friend Kali sent me an e-card yesterday from this very funny site called someecards.com.You must go on it and obsessively send them to everyone you know. Here's mine for the week. Went out last night for Liz's birthday and met a bunch of her girlfriends and one of her guy friends at Chaucer's and then we went to Pub on Passyunk and then back to Liz's and then I walked home and was almost picked up by a very short Mexican man. I kept talking Spanish to him and he kept talking English to me and neither one of us understood the other. Tonight, I'm going out with Stephanie and Celia for Center City Sips. Hey, I went to the gym at lunch time which means I have earned the right to drink 16 wheat beers, right? I sent another one to my coworker that read "Our safe word scares me."

Here's one for Jodie:

I am still thinking about the Janey Doe book. Though I do want it to be a detective story of some kind, I don't want her to be a cop or in the business or anything. It can be set in South Philadelphia and she should work in an office setting and have a habit of making up fake profiles on dating sites (not that I would ever do that) and sometimes, she goes on blind dates and uses a British accent and maybe she meets this guy named Ethan Allen and falls for him but she's already lied so much that she doesn't know how to get herself out of it and considers faking her death and trying to come back as her twin. She gets most of her ideas from As the World Turns. She could be somewhat unremarkable in her appearance. Maybe the key is that she witnesses something she shouldn't have seen. Her mom, the British woman, should be a former famous stage actress in London, renowned for her performance of Hedda Gabbler. I must write a book that has the words "Hedda Gabbler" in it. I just want to write something fun and not worry about it too much. I met with the advisor of Temple's MLA program and she seemed to think that I might be able to take some of the MFA writing classes. She was very encouraging about the thesis--said that it could for sure be a creative project. So, a novel, but maybe not this Janey thing. One way to discover if this is something I could do would be to actually start writing it as opposed to writing about writing it (huh?).

Monday, August 13, 2007

The City of Brotherly Stray Cats

A fun time was had by all in Brooklyn this weekend. I am now back in the city that (as I told Luke this weekend) alternately smells like fresh baked bread or dog shit (depending on the way the wind blows). I felt a surge of fondness for Philadelphia as the train was pulling closer to the skyline. It's the underdog of American cities. It's dirty, difficult and politically flawed but it's also friendly, manageable and chock-ful of happy dogs (on average, I am able to pet at least two dogs per day on my walk to the subway and have not once been bitten, though now, of course, you can expect to read about me being maimed by a pit bull since I just made that claim).

What did we do? We did these things and much more:

*Had coffee at Joyce's which contained 3 hipster moms and their fat burbling babies. One lady said, "I am such a bad mom! I gave him formula and then put him back down for another nap!" The other mothers all cooed their approval. I wanted to say, "Yes, and now he is startlingly obese."

*Helped Luke barter to get two pair of good shoes for $13 at a sidewalk sale.

*Completed almost all of the Sunday NY Times magazine crossword with only a little bit of cheating from with the Internet.

*Found and brought home a discarded book called, The Facts of Life. It contained very detailed pop-up photos of things you don't ever want to see that close up such as the vulva.

*Watched a documentary about mentally-handicapped people doing street interviews. It wasn't very interesting and the extra features turned out to be twice as long as the movie itself.

*Went to Beacon's Closet where Liz bought me a dress! She had a $50 credit there, but I didn't ever think she would use a portion of it on me--the dress was $15 which is a big chunk of that amount. It's really cute though--it's a Kimchi & Blue brand dress originally from Urban Outfitters. Black cotton back but the front is open knit...I can't describe it and I can't find a picture of it. You have to wear a full slip under it or else it will look like a bathing suit cover-up. I also bought a heart necklace and bird earrings.

*Ate dinner at Soda. I ordered a veggie burger that arrived on a gigantic bun. Mostly, I just ate Luke's chicken wings. Their actor friend Cathy came by and we took turns writing questions for one another to answer in my notebook. No one tried to pick us up. We walked back to L & L's apartment where I demanded that Liz cut my hair. She obliged, using her paper scissors and her plant spray bottle. I now have bangs (sort of).

*Used a free pass to go to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. I liked it much better than I thought I would, having had memories of being dragged through the Botanical Gardens as a kid. This time, we saw obscenely gigantic goldfish (a few were calico like Gretel), turtles, and cactus' with graffiti scratched onto their sturdy limbs.

*We didn't take one single photo but here is another picture of Celia's from our walk around Philadelphia. Please note that this is about four blocks from where I live if anyone would like to go with me some time. Cowboy hats required:

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Once again

This is Brooklyn Luke again. Sorry for that last less-than-illuminating post. What I was working toward before we lost our connection was some question about the creepiness other folks feel in reading blogs of friends. Do you? To me it seems more intrusive than reading a stranger's blog. But more than that, it is strange to be more kept-up with a friend's doings than they are of your own.

Well. Respond at will. We have had an unprecedented lazy weekend, with nothing really planned. We had a tornado this week in Brooklyn, the first ever since buffalo roamed these plains. It knocked out the subways and they are still running a little slow. That is our excuse. The winds whipped up a pretty fierce pee smell all through town, so it is not really worth going out. Instead we have caught up on most of our crossword work for the year, smoked 365 packs of cigarettes each, and kept pretty much to our initially-established places on the couch. Need to be getting back to that. So--thanks for your time. It has been a pleasure.

Anything you want, anytime you want it

That's how I feel about New York/Brooklyn. Every store that we go into has all the things you can desire and more. Even the local icky grocery store (C Town Town) has Annie's organic pasta as well as 500 different types of detergents. The people watching here is much better. It reminds me of David Cross' stand up about living in New York; at any given moment, you're given the choice, Do I look at the most beautiful person I've ever seen in my life or the freakiest person? Though I haven't really encountered that many crazies this time. Oh, but while I was waiting for Luke to meet me at Penn Station, I was approached by a skinny blond guy with too much hair gel who was trying to sell me tickets to the Laugh Company. He talked to me as if he were onstage and I were in the audience. "Where you from? What do you do?" His jokes were the worst I've heard since like second grade when knock-knock jokes were big. "Yeah, people from Philadelphia don't see many trees. I met a guy the other day who pointed at a light post and said, Nice elm." Then he said, "All of our comedians are professionals. They either have to have four TV credits or be Black...Because everyone knows that Blacks are funny and that white men can't dance." Luckily, me cell phone rang at just that second, but his last attempt at a connection was to say, "Can I have a hug?" I said, "No, no, you can't have a hug." When I got off the phone, I saw that he had disappeared and was grateful.

Went to Beacon's Closet with Liz and found a great black dress that Liz bought for me with part of her $50 credit. Also purchased a pair of bird earrings and a necklace with a white heart pendant. Now we're trying to decide what to do with the rest of our evening. I am a lazy person. I would be happy to just watch TV and smoke cigarettes. But really, I should take advantage of the fact that I'm this close to Manhattan. But I don't much care.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Guest Writer: Luke, Brooklyn Dude Extraordinaire

Hello all. I have the honor today to guest blog for Aimee. I guess I read this blog sometimes, but as I explained to her, it is a little uncomfortable to try to keep up with a friend through their blog because the relationship becomes one-sided. There must be a moment of mild dissapointment stalkers feel when their love objects rudely fail to reciprocate any familiarity--you didn't even know I got a job at the Citco near your house? Please pay just a little attention.

Note: This was unfinished because the computer suddenly went off line. Luke may get back to it later...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

You Can't Afford Me

Here is a photo that Celia took a couple of weekends ago. This was a book that I wanted to buy at an outdoor yard sale. There were actually five volumes in the series--one for each decade from the 40s-80s of women in popular photography. I thought, Hey, I'll buy this book for like $10 and then I can frame some of the better photos. But when I asked the lady who was running the sidewalk sale for a price, she quoted $50. I remembered that we were in Bella Vista, not Circle Thrift. I did not buy the book.

I accidentally walked down 9th street on my way to work because I had some extra time and decided to walk up a couple of extra subway stops. I always forget that there's this killing market on 9th street--I mentioned it in a previous post--these doves and pigeons and chickens stacked in cages outside of the store. Today, there were three white bunnies in the cages as well. I petted one. He didn't bite. One of the other rabbits had a toe missing. Once again, no one was set free.

Am going to Brooklyn this weekend to visit L & L. My friend from work gave me her Sims II CDs so that I can give the game to these aforementioned friends and we will likely spend most of the weekend indoors as a result.

Gotten run. More later.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Michael Stipe and me

During my quest for a hot body today at the gym, I was listening to my ipod (for which I bought a cover finally--$1 at the "Everything's $1 Store" where everything is not in fact a buck) and the REM song "Strange Currencies" shuffled in. It's not the best song to really get you going and if you're not careful, it can make you remember boys from your youth and cause you to stumble on the elliptical machine and fall down and hurt your nose. Except I don't know if you could call it a love song or if it's more of a stalker song. He sings "I don't know why you mean to me" which isn't very flattering to the adored and then "...you will be mine" which makes me think of him hiding behind a building and watching the silhouette of this person in the lighted window above him. But the song makes me want to just sit down with Michael over coffee and talk for a couple of hours, because all of REM's songs are like that--lovely and sad and aching. But then I imagine that he's so shy that he would just sit across from me with his arms crossed, answering my questions with one word answers and twisting a paper napkin in his hands. So, it probably wouldn't go well. And then I remembered how the other morning while I was brushing my teeth, I found myself wondering what Richard Gere is up to these days. I silently congratulated him for not being one of those Hollywood figures who you see in People magazine every week, pretending to pump gas under the heading "They're Just Like Us!" And then I realized for the 500th time that my head is too filled with packing peanuts of pop culture. Why don't I read The New York Times every day? Why do I not know more about what's happening with those trapped miners (who I incidentally only learned about b/c the news was on one of the 25 TVs at the gym)? Well, part of the reason I don't read the newspaper is because even glancing at the headlines on any given day causes me to feel like shouting at everyone around me about how the world is totally fucked up.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Probably Anticlimactic Conclusion of Age of Stupidity

"It's not going to be easy, because I'm going to hurt someone..." His first words. The sun shines brightly behind his huge ears and his hair is somehow growing straight off the top of his head like an Italian/Australian Chia.

Amanda is the young one. She is pretty but her mouth is gigantic. Huge. Cartoonishly large. I supposed it doesn't matter too much because he has a big mouth too.

And then there's Jen, age 63 who has that tight look to her face like it might crack off at any moment and reveal a well maintained lizard. Jen has a son who is twenty-five and the Bachelor is 24 and a half. Oh, first betrayal...Jen brought a gift. Amanda wants to scratch her eyes out. She stares out the window at the beautiful fake scenery. We are about to meet the parents. We probably won't be able to understand a word they say.

They are in Australia to meet the bachelor's family (I still can't remember his name. Andrew? Bob? Tangerine?). The big shock will be Jen's senior citizen status and the fact that Amanda is tongue-tied. (As an aside, since I can't watch just one show at a time, I'm also concurrently watching Eddie Murphy's stand-up, Raw from 1987. Eddie Murphy is really, really, really funny and cute and I want to make out with him. I am so happy that he's not dead from a drug overdose. Okay, so he has made some bad movies like Dr. Doolittle and Big and Fat, but he is really, really good. I suppose you could fault him for being somewhat misogynistic, but whatever, he's also pretty hard on the men). Okay, Bryan lives in an orange house that looks like it's made out of Legos. Yes, as I suspected, they are having to give subtitles for when the mother or anyone else talks Austrailianinism. I am waiting for someone to break into an Abba song.

Jen and Mark are going on a one-on-one date in a gondola and for some reason, she's wearing a gigantic LL Bean coat. Oh, dear, he brought her a single red rose wrapped in plastic. Meanwhile, Amanda stands at the waterfront wearing a better fitting LL Bean raincoat. Oh, wait, I think they may have the same coat. "Whatever happens, I just appreciate you making this very special. Everything we've done has been amazing." The just had a large audible kiss--bwish, bwish--that's what it sounded like. How great, she just whispered in his ear how many times in a row she's had an orgasm. I'm not making this up. WHY did she choose to tell him this??? First of all, isn't that intimidating (assuming she didn't say "once")? Secondly, what exactly is she trying to communicate to him? That she's sensuous? I guarantee that she is a total faker. They're eating sea food in front of an aquarium. They get to pick the shark they want to eat and then watch as it's slaughtered. That is so romantic.

Time for Amanda's date. They are at an animal park where they get to pick the baby kangaroo and/or koala they want to eat later. Meanwhile, Jen is standing by the lake wearing high heeled boots and a skinny brown belt. Amanda and Mark are sitting on a fake log kissing loudly again, bwish, bwish. She's too nervous to tell him how many orgasms she has had (none ever). They are going to eat at a Japanese restaurant that's on fire. Seems risky. She sort of looks like Hilary Swank with a bigger mouth. "The more I open my heart, the farther I fall." They never ever never say anything interesting. He says, "You can't help who you click with. You click with who you click with. Like that! Click!" Omigod, he just jumped up and clicked his heels together. Ew, I just saw him shove his tongue in her throat. This is so fake. They are in a close up that's like they're in a soap opera. This has to be staged.

She reads her cue card slowly, in monotone. "I feel attracted to you and connected to you and that I click with you and that I'm clicking right now and that we have a clickosity that is like...it's almost like I am into you and it's scary but you know, it's like you kiss my gigantic mouth and I feel incredible and amazing and like maybe we are special or not. I forget."

It's the finale. I am guessing that he will choose Amanda. I would love it if he would pick Jen, but he won't. He knows that the second he starts dating her, she will automatically age if a matter of seconds. While the older lady spews stupid advice, Amanda sits on the park bench with a fake smile on her face. He's walking around in a towel and the other two girls are in bathrobes. This is the bathroom session of the show. Why are we watching this? Especially when I am sure that they have make-up artists who do this for them. Old lady. "I already feel like a winner, but I want the grand prize." She will lose. They don't let women who say things like that win.

Here comes Emma Carol, dragging her white mouse on a rope down the stairs.

"Jen, you blew me away. And then....Remember when you also blew me? I have very strong feelings for you...But I'm sorry, I just don't think that it will work out..." He's kissing good bye the old broad. No kidding. Yes, of course. And why would the TV station have plugged it as a big surprise. It's not a surprise. It's exactly what I thought would happen from the very beginning.

The white flags are blowing in the wind.

"Amanda, you're making me shake too. I just love your smile and I love your eyes. I wanted you to come to Australia and meet my family so that you could get to know them and when you spend time with people, you get to know them. And uh..."

Okay, so now we get to see how Amanda reacts. They will not stay together, but whatever. "From the start, this has just been an amazing journey. I would love for you to continue that journey with me..." How boring! Bwish. They are awkwardly sitting wrapped in an Indian blanket and sailing magically with no one at the helm. I wish, wish, wish that one of them would fall off the boat instead of making us watch this fake Titanic helm scene.

The word journey has been said no fewer than 34 times in this episode alone. Bummer. The journey is over.

Baby on the way?

Talked to Jess yesterday, who is not quite sure if she's having a baby in September or early January. I thought too that she was about three months pregnant, but it turns out that she and Scott will be having a child in the fall (if not sooner). We have not come up with a name yet for a boy or a girl though I'm still partial to "Emma Carol" for a girl. Ethan for a boy? Or would that be too weird, like he owned a furniture store or was part of an Edith Wharton novel?

Speaking of which, Jess also told me yesterday that her ex-boyfriend, who earned his MFA from Iowa and has been written up in Oprah more than once, just had his first book optioned for a movie and is hard at work on another novel. This made me realize that I need to write a book that will be made into a movie where I will need to make a cameo appearance to kiss Colin Firth--just like, in the background, it doesn't necessarily have to tie into the plot. Combine this news with the fact that I've been struggling through what is one of my first contemporary mystery novels and you will understand why I now must write a book about a woman named Janey Doe who solves crimes accidentally. I thought she could have a British mother who has a great sense of humor and when Janey complains about her name says, It's not that bad, sweetie. I could've named you Fasolatee. Janey works in an office and has a crush on her co-worker who alas has a girlfriend and she's not very good at her job and her boss is this kind of bumbling older man. I haven't decided what the crime should be...something interesting like missing girls or I could steal my idea from the "Wanted" story where there's a serial killer on the loose and women's body parts are turning up all over the city. Then Janey could wonder momentarily what body part the killer would want of hers and have this whole made up conversation with him where they argue about what her best feature is. She thinks she is unremarkable, a real Jane Doe, but maybe she could figure out that she's actually not that ordinary. Is that too pat? I don't know. It's all speculation until a person starts writing. I haven't hardly anything, just a sliver of a scene:

What souvenir would he take from her? She stares at her blurry reflection in the dark glass of the subway window. Her eyes? Her calves? She imagines negotiating with him. He suggests her eyebrows, not her best feature, but he seems at a loss to find something better. He shrugs, tapping the butcher knife impatiently against his knee. Come on, look at my silhouette, she says. I have an hourglass torso. He says nothing. My knees? It goes on this way in her head for some time until finally she realizes that she has missed her stop again.

Could be blah. I don't know.

The important thing is that Age of Love is on in less than half an hour and we will see if he choses the old or the young. I'll try to write about it when it's on, but I sometimes get too caught up.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Plans for the day

Here we are at another sweltering Saturday. What's a girl to do? Well, I just drank a glass of orange juice (sans pulp) and have made my bed, taken a shower and fought with fat Emma who chewed through an entire grocery bag yesterday and has not yet picked up her cat toys which are scattered all over the place. I'm going to the coffee shop for 45 minutes or so and then will go to Celia's. She's letting me do laundry and in return, I am driving her and me to the SugarHabit Warhouse Sale in Old City. Then we'll go to Trader Joe's where I will spend too much money on healthy, premade food. I'm looking forward to it, especially since Celia will bring her camera and I can later steal her pictures.

Oh, then last night, I went with her and Lisa Marie to Vox, an art gallery in an old, crappy building. I was introduced to Lisa Marie's artist friend who has some work featured in the gallery and it was the most ackward conversation in recent history. Instant replay:

LM: (hoping the guy and I will hit it off and fall in love and we can all go double dating together, and to the drive-in and Red Lobster, etc.): And this is my friend, Aimee.

Artist Guy: Hi.

Me: Hi.

(Pause)

LM: Aimee is a writer.

AG: Oh.

Me: Hi.

LM: She works with me at Temple. She's a writer there. (Pause). What's your work title?

Me: Queen Something. (No one laughs). I really like this space. It's so...it's spacious, isn't it?

AG: Yeah.

Me: Hi.

I felt like I was stuck in a Woody Allen film.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Much better...Me as a Simpson and as sextuplets (not created by me. I'm vain but not that vain)

Really?

According to someone, this is the Simpson version of me. I can think of a couple of things missing from this, though the shirt with the cat and the pink shoes are accurate. Where are my boobs? Come on, people!

Here's another photo Celia took in South Philly.