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Friday, October 31, 2003

Arghhh!

Yesterday, I officially lost my position of employment. Yep, I was fired, let go, asked to turn in my keys, terminated, sacked ... The only thing that could make me feel worse about it is that I'm on my way to turn in an application to work at a video store. I ought to move to Austin and get it over with.

In other news, after taking James' list of movies to my local video store (see above), I watched A Woman Under The Influence last night for the second time in a week. I wanted my husband to see it because I wanted to discuss it with someone, realtime. The movie gives you a lot to discuss. Gena Rowlands is one of the best actresses to ever appear on celluloid. Believe me, I know because Gena's character, Mabel Longhetti, acts exactly like Aaron's crazy grandmother. It was actually disturbing to watch, having someone in the family who's mental instabilities are so similar and familiar.

Since all I can concentrate on today is not punching my former boss and finding a new job, I thought I'd offer up what I've seen recently on another blog -- a survey. I've looked at so many other blogs lately I am unable to give credit to the proper person for the idea, but it is someone on James' links.

Three things that scare me:
1:Christina Aguilera
2:people who don't floss
3:losing my job, arghh
Three people who make me laugh:
1:Jack Black
2:Eddie Izzard
3:Michael Palin
Three Things I love:
1:sleeping in
2:the beach
3:otters
Three Things I hate:
1:people who tease otters
2:ultra-right-wing conservatism
3:McDonald's
Three things I don't understand:
1:calculus (ok, and basic math)
2:why you people aren't commenting more, dammit
3:Cantonese
Three things on my desk:
1:all-natural cough syrup
2:oolong tea
3:Pic of David Bowie from 'The Man who Fell to Earth'
Three things I'm doing right now:
1:coughing
2:sipping
3:looking at David
Three things I want to do before I die:
1:travel to Spain & Italy & Tahiti & New Zealand & ...
2:work at a job I love
3:be stranded on a deserted island with Benicio for a week
Three things I can do:
1:speak French and German fairly well
2:dress well
3:lie, cheat and steal, but I chose not to
Three ways to describe my personality:
1:smart-ass
2:hirsute
3:ungainly
Three things I can't do:
1:a cart wheel
2:eat raw onions
3:type w/my nipples, God, how I've tried

Three Things brought to you by BZOINK!

And since it's Halloween, here's a fun site for all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

The Day I Became A (Wo)Man

I really don't remember how old I was. I know I was in that awkward phase of leaving behind my roller skates and welcoming a boys tongue in my mouth. It was also before my heart-breaking crush on an effeminate Nick Rhodes that started when I was 13. Let's say I was around 11 or 12. My best friend/next-door-neighbor, Eric, and I were in my basement throwing a blue and white Nerf football back and forth and singing one of my many expertly-crafted, homemade tunes. The songs had such enchanting titles as: O Fat Linda, Bo Diddley is a Squidley, Sunburn Hurts 'Cause it Itches (a country tune), Ms. Strause is as Big as a House, and Ssssssssssuck It, Said the Snake (in My Pants), the 'it' pronounced with a barely audible 'T.'

At one point during our singing/Nerf session, we were singing a song entitled 'At the Beach.' It was a classic, my all-time, personal favorite. It was paying homage to my summer league softball bus driver and batting coach, Wampsher. The Wamp was one of the great characters of my childhood. He was a hippie who was over six feet tall, weighed well over 400 pounds and had long, stringy black hair. His clothes had to be handmade by his mother as he could not fit into anything store-bought. He was one of the funniest people I have ever met, and he loved us as much as we loved him. The summer league was made up of girls between the ages of 8 and 16. We were hellions who loved to embarrass the Wamp by talking about sex. He would turn bright red and yell, "Now, cut that out! You're supposed to be young ladies!" So, I wrote him this song. I used to sing it on the bus to him, much to his chagrin. It had many ever-changing verses. The refrain of the song went something like this:

Went down to the beach, doo-wah
Took off my clothes, doo-wah
Jumped on Wampshire, doo-wah

It was a softball-bus crowd pleaser. It was also one that Eric and I sang together, mainly because he did whatever I told him to do. How else do you think he became my best friend and stayed in that position for 14 years of my childhood? Personality?

(*** I have been gently told that perhaps some of my posts are too long. If that is the case with this one, stop reading now and pick up here tomorrow. I won't tell anyone.)

I had a small, spider-laden window above my head in the basement. Eric and I threw the ball a number of times, laughing hysterically at all the lyrics we were making up as we went along. I must have laughed too hard or too often because Eric threw me a pass that I missed, and the Nerf hit a golf trophy that was on the sill in front of the window. Obviously, the trophy went right through it. My dad happened to be in the yard at the time, and he answered the window's splintering crash with a startled, "What the hell?" I knew I'd been caught red-handed. I was desperately trying to think of an excuse. I couldn't come up with a reasonable one -- saying, "I don't know, Dad. We were just sitting in the basement when the Nerf threw itself out the window," wasn't going to cut the mustard. So, I decided to blame it on Eric. Things were usually his fault anyway, as I saw it.

At some point on my way up the stairs and through the house to the backdoor, I had an ingenious idea: "Why not tell Dad the truth?" Well, that thought was shortly followed by, "Why start now?" But I decided that for the very first time I was going to own up to my mistake, and I do mean for the very first time. I did just that. My dad looked at me and told me that it was no problem, that it could have happened to anybody. He went downtown and purchased some glass to fix the window, and I helped him repair it.

I learned a valuable lesson that day: Um, something to do with telling the truth and maybe something else. Not quite sure. Oh, and never play football in front of a window.

Bonus on Wampshire

Wamp went on to lose a lot of weight. He looked like he weighed about 200 pounds. He was always in love with Jamaica and the ganja he could buy there; so, he opened up his own island destination travel company. Three years after losing all that weight and keeping it off, at age 27, he keeled over from a heart attack and died. At least he got to experience life to the fullest and work at a career he loved with a passion. This ones for you Wamp: Went down to the beach, doo-wah ...





Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Mein Own, Personal Klassenkampf

My sister has money. When I say 'money,' I don't mean money in terms of what doctors and lawyers make per annum. I mean 'money' like what Mel Gibson makes per picture. Maybe not quite that much, but I can never be too sure.

I do not begrudge my sister her money, not at all. See, I realize that she does the second hardest job a person can do to earn that kind of cash -- she married it. The hardest job would be to marry for it. She just married into it.

It didn't dawn on me for quite a while that she'd married money, not even when she was given a brand-new Mercedes 560 SL convertible for her 25th birthday. See, I'm 10 years younger than she is. I thought at some point in each of our lives, we'd all be able to afford a Mercedes. I thought the reason my parents didn't have one was because they were thrifty, Pennsylvania Dutch-type Germans who preferred to buy American. Needless to say, I learned the truth the hard way. I believe it was when they started talking about my brother-in-law buying a Rolls Royce that I realized that they lived in a whole different realm of wealth than anyone I'd ever personally known.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. I was the child who was certain she'd grow up to be rich and famous, travel the world, and own a diamond-encrusted Yahtzee set. My sister, on the other hand, had been engaged to a dairy farmer and wanted 6 children. By the time I was 16, the reality tables had turned because she didn't marry that farmer, and she was way too busy and intelligent to have 6 children. By the time I was 30, I knew that my chances of ever becoming rich were pretty much equivalent to the number of times I'd managed to pull my nostrils up over the top of my head -- zero, and I was much more likely to become infamous than famous.

I know it's hard to believe, but I have never been jealous of her economic standing, which is truly odd because I constantly bemoan people who have more money than God. It's so easy here because Charlotte is a city quite full of them. And they, in turn, are quite full of themselves. Maybe that's why my sister's wealth really doesn't bother me -- she doesn't demand any kind of respect for having it, and she certainly doesn't act as if she has it. In fact if you didn't see that she was driving one the world's highest-end luxury vehicles or that her gold and platinum Rolex has diamonds instead of numbers on the dial (I'm dead serious), you'd probably think she was just a regular old Yankee.

Sometimes I do get a little jealous of her problems. I mean while I'm wondering how I'm going to pay to have the truck fixed after the hit-and-run, she's wondering whether to golf in Palm Springs or Las Vegas. While I'm worried about our bathroom floor caving in due to water damage, she's wondering when her interior decorator, who lives in Switzerland and Palm Beach, is going to send those samples he promised. I also don't think she knows how to spend her money 'right.' I would so have to spend her money on things other than what she spends it on. Golf is for old, boring people. A souped-up dunebuggy with a matching house on the Outer Banks is for cool, fun people.

So, you see, one doesn't necessarily have to look at a country in its entirety to see the makings of a class struggle. One only has to look into my immediate family.

"It is not the consciousness of human beings that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness," Karl Marx: German Ideology


Monday, October 27, 2003

Clutching At Straws

Today while I was watching one of my all-time favorite English horror movies, Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, I saw a new commercial for The Scooter Store. Yes, The Scooter Store, the store than makes being an invalid hip, cool and fun.™ They have a new slogan: Whatever it takes, as long as it takes – that’s our guarantee (to reach the desired outcome). I started thinking about how making that particular promise to a bunch of senior citizens is a risky proposition. The service tech could conceivably have to move into the invalid’s house for a while in order to answer all of the questions the senior citizen might have. Anyone who’s ever worked with public knows what I’m talking about.

I was also pondering from which people/services I would like to hear that slogan used and those people from whom I would never want to hear those words uttered.

GOOD IDEA

Medical researcher

Crew rescuing me from a well (or anything, for that matter)

USPS

Teacher

Massage therapist

Attorney

Athlete

Man I’m about to sleep with


BAD IDEA

Mechanic

Rolling Stones

Minister preaching a sermon

Restaurant

Dentist

Executioner

Gynecologist

Proctologist


It also made me realize President Bush has taken this 'oath of guarantee' in Iraq. I know it's been said before, but American government is exactly like a big, dumb jock – too strong for its own good, too big for its own good, too closed-minded to see that it’s a big bully who ends up hurting itself in the end , and too stupid to know when to quit.

Tom has some good thoughts on his blog today about the situation and some great links.

Also, thanks to Michael for helping me out of a frustrating 'comment' code situation yesterday. He's brilliant. My hero!

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Opera And Mucus

What would I do without my friends? My friends have become the family in which I feel like I always belong. This morning I was feeling a little out of sorts because I was supposed to go to Tom's house and stay the night in order to see my niece's last two local games, but I decided to stay home due to the horrid, mucus-laden cough I've acquired recently.

Tom has been like a brother to me for the last 9+ years. He has seen me at my best and at my worst and still loves me. I, too, have seen him at his best and worst and still love him, as much as one can after witnessing such a sight. This is true friendship. I remember when my father passed away in April 2001 -- it was one of the toughest times of my life. That same month I found out that Tom was going back to school and moving to Raleigh. As proud as I was of him for embarking on a new adventure, I felt like I lost two family members in one month. I soon recovered from my selfishness and rejoiced with him for having the courage it takes to do such a thing when one's middle-aged (just kidding). Besides, I now had somewhere to stay when I was in Raleigh/Chapel hill area. Oops, there I go with the selfishness again.

Anyway, this morning a package arrived from the UK from my dear friend Jood. She knows how much I miss the autumnal colors of Pennsylvania, so she placed a handful of brightly-colored leaves in the package from the moors where she lives. I've been smelling them all morning -- an earthy, spiced aroma that I will forever relate to the moors of England. She also mailed a beautiful stone(flint) from her childhood, which are exactly like the ones I picked up in Paris at Pere Lachaise. She knows I love stones of all sorts. As if there needed to be anymore goodies, she also sent two CD's of her favorite opera selections, which I am currently listening to.

Sorry to be so sentimental this morning. It must be because I am grateful for my friends. That, and the cough syrup.


Friday, October 24, 2003

Blowing Smoke


Having recently come down with a case of bronchitis, I have had to cut back on smoking once again. As smoking is the only vice I have left, I'm hanging on to it so I still have a little 'bad girl' left to brag about. Below are some of my favorite quotes about the sinister friend that is tobacco.

'To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times.' -- Mark Twain

'Nicotine patches are great. Stick one over each eye and you can't find your cigarettes.' -- Author Unknown

'To smoke or not to smoke: I can make of either a life-work.' -- Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

'Thank heaven, I have given up smoking again!... God! I feel fit. Homicidal, but fit. A different man. Irritable, moody, depressed, rude, nervy, perhaps; but the lungs are fine.' -- A.P. Herbert

'Now the only thing I miss about sex is the cigarette afterward. Next to the first one in the morning, it's the best one of all. It tasted so good that even if I had been frigid I would have pretended otherwise just to be able to smoke it.' -- Florence King

'Black Sabbath! Cigarettes! Black Sabbath! Cigarettes!!!' -- Posted by scotty

'I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again.' -- Bart Simpson

'I enjoy it too much.' -- David Bowie explains why he will never give up smoking.

'Smoke often and smoke with gusto. It's a little known, indeed little researched, fact of literature and journalism that no non smoker is worth reading. And writers who give up become crashing bores.' -- Novelist and journalist AA Gill

'There is no madness so deep that it excludes you from the community of tobacco' -- Patrick McGrath in Spider

Thursday, October 23, 2003

People Are Stupid

A list of some things that customers have asked for, and what they really wanted to purchase, at a local health food store:


Gestapo Soup -- Gazpacho. Does conjure up thoughts of the Soup Nazi.

Moron Pills -- Boron tablets. If the name fits ...

euthanasia Pills -- Echinachea tablets.

Antarctica Pills -- Arnica tablets.

Placenta Husks -- Psyllium husks. Would you take anything with 'placenta' in it?

Melanoma Pills -- Melatonin. Why spend all of your time sunbathing when it's available in convenient tablet form?

Chloroform Liquid -- Chlorophyll liquid.

Seminal Soft Gels -- Salmon oil. Again, why go through all the work when it's readily available in a capsule?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Jonesin' For A Phonesin'

I was having one of those days. You know what I'm talking about. I was just jonesin' to look at pictures of my favorite celebrities talking on the telephone. "But what's a girl to do?" I thought to myself. I suddenly got very depressed, that is until I discovered a site devoted soley to celebrities talking on the phone! Oh, joy! Oh, lucky, lucky day! God truly does work in mysterious ways.


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

The Post About Breasts

I've never been very blessed in this area. As a matter of fact, a past boyfriend took to calling them 'booblettes,' just to drive the point home. I suppose that's why I often take notice of women who exhibit ample curvature in the chest-al region. That might be why I get along with men so well -- I look at 'em as much as they do.

Today I was reminded of how underinflated I am when I spotted a woman with extremely large implants. It also helped me remember a conversation I overheard about a year ago. It makes me smile to this day. I know the two people involved, and they know each other, but casually. They just happened to be seated next to each other at an event.

W: Oh, there's so-and-so. I can't stand him.

M: Why?

W: His such a pig. He never talks to my face, if you know what I mean. He stares at my chest constantly. One of these days, I'm going to tell him about it. I'm going to tell him how cheap and objectified it makes me feel. He should know better than to treat a woman like meat.

M: Well, that's why you paid the big bucks for 'em, isn't it?



Monday, October 20, 2003

O Sleep, O Gentle Sleep

O sleep, O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee.
That now no more wilt weight my eyelids down
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?

Shakespeare
Henry IV

My weekend sucked. First off, the Tarheels Hockey team lost two in a row and probably their 2nd-place standing. Although my niece played very well, I must say.

Secondly, I haven't been able to sleep since Thursday night. I must have scared the living shit out of Sleep at some point Friday, because that night quite a few of my readers got unexpected e-mails between 3:00 and 5:30 a.m. I finally got to sleep at about 6:30, only to have to get right back up again five hours later to meet someone. Saturday, I finally feel asleep at around 3:30. I had to be up at 8:00 to go to Chapel Hill.

Last night, I was exhausted. We were sound asleep by 9:00 p.m. Although I haven't been in bed that early since I was 8 years old, it felt soooo good. But at 9:30 the doorbell rang. We both laid there, hoping it was a nightmare, but the dogs' incessant barking told us otherwise. Then someone started madly ringing the bell. They rang at least 10 times before we got to the door. That's when the real nightmare started.

Our neighbor, the crazy one who likes to blow darts into unsuspecting backs and tell people he's a sheriff even though he isn't, was the person ring the bell. He was frantic. It turns out that someone hit our parked truck head-on and drove away. The driver's horn was stuck in the on position, and he could still be heard driving through our neighborhood. He wanted us to call 911 while he chased him down (trust me he lives for this shit). Aaron went with the neighbor, and I tried to call 911.

I picked up the telephone and dialed. I waited until the ring count reached 25 before assuming that there was something wrong with the line. I hung up, which I know is something one should never do because I used to answer 911 calls for Medic, but I didn't know what else to do. I dialed again. At ring #27, a nasty, job-loathing woman answered, her mouth obviously over-stuffed with every sock that's ever been lost in a Kenmore. Even so, I could still hear her grating redneck twang. I wanted to wring her neck. See, I was a little stressed at this point.

She reluctantly took my info and said she'd send someone over. But she didn't realize I wasn't quite finished. I told her about the number of rings the first time, and she blamed me for clogging up the police's entire 911 system -- not possible, I knew, from my experience at Medic, but I didn't say anything yet about that. Then I told her about my second call. Again she blamed me. I wanted to know what I should do if I'm ever being raped or attacked and I have to wait through 50 plus rings for someone to answer at 911. I told her I understood that my case was certainly not a matter of life or death, but what if I should be in that position one day? Again, she told me it was my fault. That line was becoming monotonous, so I told her about my previous experience and how at Medic we had to answer every call by the third ring. And we did. I told her I didn't feel safe living in a city where I can't reach the police when I need them and then, when I do finally reach them, having to deal with the likes of her. She then hung up on me -- not shocking or startling, but perturbing nonetheless.

I knew I'd probably end up in jail if I stayed outside to speak with the police, so I intelligently stayed in side. We were convinced that the officer could follow the sound of the horn or trace the make and model of the hit-and-run utilizing the huge pile of his car that remained in our yard, into which he ended up pushing our car. He didn't do anything. He filled out a report. That's it. Then he told us that we were 'out of luck' and 'too bad.' He wasn't stating it in such a way as to seem empathetic, Aaron later told me; he was saying it in such a way that 'you dumbass' would have fit in well at the end of either of his statements. What he was mostly concerned with was the way I had 'cussed out' the 911 operator. Aaron explained the situation to him, that I hadn't 'cussed' at the woman at all. The cop looked unmoved. I did the right thing by staying inside. I would have ended up in jail last night.

The worst part of all of this is that I just can't help shaking the feeling that if I lived on Queen's Road the cop would have done a lot more for us. I don't know, maybe he would have taken a print of the tires; maybe he would have picked up the pieces of the guy's car as evidence; maybe he would have driven around the neighborhood listening for the horn and looking for someone driving erratically with half his front end missing. I don't know. I guess I 'm just too cynical.

I was awake until 3:00 a.m. I was up at 7:00. See, I told you it sucked.

On a more pleasant note, I see where 21 Grams is getting ready to be released nationwide. It got a terrific review by the NY Times. I really want to see this movie, and not just because Benicio del Toro is my soul mate. He just doesn't know it yet.

Friday, October 17, 2003

This Just In ...

This just in from NPR's home office in Washington, DC: A vast majority of NPR's correspondents are calling for the resignation of Morning Edition host Bob Edwards. The reason, it seems, is Edwards' lack of a suitably pretentious name.

"You know, most of us have either a pretentious first name or surname, and some of us have both. We tried to force him into a more pretentious pronunciation of either name, like 'Boob' or 'Boab.' Even adopting a more Germanic pronunciation of his last name, like 'Edvards,' would have been enough to satisfy us. That's what Michelle Norris did when she came to work here. She became 'Me-shell' rather than 'Mish-ell.' See, we aren't asking for too much," stated Davar Ardalan, producer of Weekend All Things Considered and owner of an extremely pretentious name. "I suppose the good old days of Kojo Namdi ceased when he retired from Public Interest."

"It's obvious that management isn't even trying to uphold our standard anymore," cried Mandalita Barco, whose middle name is "Pythagorea."

"I used to take so much pride in our names. Now, I just feel ... ," Neda Ulaby started to add but was forced to pause due to uncontrollable emotion. Ms. Ulaby admits that the name on her birth certificate is 'Jennifer Johnson,' a name she thought had alliterative appeal, but she told us she was "more than happy" to change her name into something more difficult to pronounce in order to be hired by NPR.

A petition was circulated through all of NPR's offices earlier this week. While the petition was written and distributed by Sniqdha Prakash, it was a group effort of all the employees mentioned earlier in this article plus many others, including: Baxter Black, Bob Boilen, Lakshmi Singh, Vertamae Grosvenor, Suzanne Bona, Ketzel Levine, Claudio (Cloud-ee-o) Sanchez, Andrei Codrescu, Tom "Yellin'" Gjelten, John Ydstie, Sylvia Poggioli, Karva Coleman, Vicky Que, Tovia Smith, Steve Inskeep, Ira Flatow, Guy Raz and Maria Hinojosa, among others. All in all, the petition was signed by over 85 people, all in the employ of NPR. Surprisingly, the petition was also signed by Ann Taylor, whose name does not seem to denote pretentiousness at first glance.

When questioned about Ms. Taylor's inclusion on the petition, Ina Jaffe, Senior Correspondent at NPR's Los Angeles branch, replied, "Quite honestly, I've always been slightly disappointed with the name 'Ann Taylor,' but I was told that a boutique for self-important businesswomen shared her name. Evidently the board considered it to be up to the proper standard of pretentiousness."

But can anything be too pretentious for NPR or its listeners? I found myself asking that question while at the NPR home office. "Pretentiousness is the basis of our entire operation. Well, that and news coverage," offered Lawrence Scott Sheets, the Moscow Bureau Chief, by telephone. Mr. Scott Sheets at once exhibited the enviable adeptness with a thesaurus typical of one filled with pretention: "We at NPR are all affected, vain, ostentatious, pompous overactors who put on airs. And that is as it should be." When I questioned him about his own name, he stated that his given name was Lawrence Scott. "I knew a major name change was in order after I joined the NPR team, but I'd wanted to keep at least part of my given name to please my mother. So, I started thinking about my surname 'Scott' and what that might conjure up in peoples' minds. I immediately thought of Scott Tissue. Scott Tissue comes in perforated 'sheets.' That's how I came up with my name. I'm pretty proud of the name and the logic I used to derive it," he boasted.

I next spoke with Chris and Elizabeth Arnold. Somehow, they managed to be hired by NPR without a name change but are now fearful of what may occur. The terror is apparent as I interview them from their hideout, a Roche-Bobois chaise-longue (couch) in the far corner of the upstairs breakroom of NPR's office. Chris is sweating profusely, and, like his hands, his lips are trembling. Liz is too terrified even to speak. "Absolutely, Liz and I are scared; we are petrified. These people who seem so well-mannered and gentle on-air can be animals, utter beasts, when off the air. I just want you to send the word out that we are willing to change our names to whatever the group deems appropiately pretentious. Please tell them that for us, and tell them please, please not to hurt us. I've seen what they are capable of. I'm begging you."

To date, there has been no solution to this seemingly impassable situation. The staff members I spoke with felt certain a non-violent resolution could be reached, but "One never knows, does one?" expressed Tavis Smiley, host of the Tavis Smiley Show. Perhaps, instead of NPR being an acronym for National Public Radio, it is, in fact, an acronym for Notably Pretentious Reporters. Only time will tell.


(Special thanks to Aaron, who came up with his this topic for me and who, like me, is a long-time NPR listener and supporter. Wonder when he'll start a blog of his own?)


Thursday, October 16, 2003

The Boy With The Big Swinging Nipples

'The Boy with the Big, Swinging Nipples' sounds like an ABC After-School Special, doesn't it? In fact, it's not about human boy at all -- it's about my cat named Sam. I am going to share this with you, even though it really disgusts one of my readers. (I just have one thing to say to you -- Sammy's nipples aren't gross. You just have superhuman powers in combating his Rasputin-like attacks!) Sam is too smart for his own good. He picks fights with dogs and, if they playfully go after him, he'll throw himself on the ground and scream like they're killing him. I should say he used to do that. After I had a long talk with him about 'crying wolf,' he stopped. Screaming that is, he still torments the dogs.

See, I live in a household with two cats, Sam and Buddie, and two dogs, Stella and Addie. Sam was brought into this house last November after one of our cats died. We weren't going to replace him, but Buddie started howling all night long out of loneliness. It would break your heart. Okay, maybe it would break your heart for about 3 minutes, then you'd want to kill him for keeping you up all night, but it would, at some point, break your heart. So, we brought Sam into the mix. He came from the Humane Society, where he lived in a cage, to our household, which is like living in a zoo. He was accustomed to receiving a lot of attention from all of the volunteers at the Human Society, and he immediately saw that getting his desired amount of attention was going to be a problem -- a problem he managed to solve right away due to physical deformity ... or four.

See, Sam has these incredibly long, pink, saggy, baggy, hairless nipples. I know that it happens to some male cats after neutering, but Sam has the worst case of the droops I've ever seen, by far. The thing about them, really, is that they are mesmerizing. It's true -- they are mesmerizing nipples. When he rolls onto his back and flashes them at me, I just can't resist; I must pet them. He rolls onto his back, stretches his hind legs out straight and, if you're not looking, he will chirp until you turn around and notice the 'nips.' They are the cutest things I have ever seen. The actual nipple is about the size of a pinhead, and the surrounding skin is soft and hairless. I have actually been in the middle of cooking an elaborate meal, had to stop what I was doing and go pet the damn things, wash my hands and continue cooking. I know it seems extreme, but trust me it's not just me -- I know exactly what's going on when, from another room, I hear Sam start chirping and my husband say, "Awh, look at those nips, awh." I wish I had a photo to post. I was going to take one and enter it into the Everyman contest, but I knew the judges would be so mesmerized, I'd win hands down. That wouldn't be fair, would it? Remember this: I'm nothing if not fair (and a little insane when it comes to cats' nipples).




Wednesday, October 15, 2003

It's Ha-Vee-Air, Dumbass
or Spinal Pap



I watched Dancer Upstairs last night. It was directed by John Malkovich and starred Javier Bardem. While I really can't stand Malkovich's pretentiousness, I love Javier Bardem, especially in his movies with Pedro Almodovar and Before Night Falls. I had heard that Javier gave a terrific performance as a cop in Latin America and that this performance was even better than his acting in Before Night Falls; so, I decided to give the movie a chance. Before Night Falls is a wonderful book and a good movie. The NPR reviewer who stated the above about his performances was exactly right -- Bardem's performance was truly fantastic. He was the only good thing about this movie. The direction of the film was horribly inconsistent. It seemed to me that Malkovich just arrogantly assumed that his acting greatness would translate into directing greatness. He was wrong. The story was trite, too; so, I can't blame it all on Malkovich. But, if you watch this film, notice during the scene in which there are numerous dead dogs hanging from lamp posts there is a cut from the front view of the car to a side view of the car and then back to the front again. During the cut to the side view, it is raining cats and dogs. During the front views it is dry as a bone and the actors aren't wet. This is just an example.

The next film I watched (can you tell I've been home sick?) was A Mighty Wind, a movie I've wanted to see since it first came out. I think some of the best acting on screen is performed by Christopher Guest's group of actors in his mockumentaries, as is some of the best screenwriting, such as: Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. Best in Show, in particular, has so many layers and so many small nuances that I didn't really enjoy it the first time I saw it because I only looked at the surface of the story. Only after watching it again and looking more into the background of the story and listening to the not-so-obvious lines stated by the actor, did I see the true humor and wonderful acting and writing that went into the film. I enjoyed A Mighty Wind, mainly because of the commitment on the part of some of the actors who didn't already know how to play music to learn their assigned instruments. I heard on NPR that it took Parker Posey months and months of long practices to play the mandolin, for example. I am accustomed now to looking for the stories that are under the surface in Christopher Guest's films. Unfortunately, this one didn't seem to have any. It was noteworthy and entertaining, but it lacked the richness and depth of his previous work and storylines. It felt a little flat.

Speaking of underlying stories in Christopher Guests films, my husband has a friend, Jay, who just loves Spinal Tap. He's a musician and can fully appreciate the talent and humor that went into making this film. One night after we first met, we began talking about that film. I've own a copy for over ten years and it is one of my favorites. I brought up the subject of the underlying themes, in particular the one about David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel's homosexual relationship. Jay thought I was joking. I thought he was joking because he hadn't noticed it, but I chalked it up to hetero denial, not that he is homophobic. He has since brought this topic up to me on several occasions, always arguing his point. I decided to do a blog about this and get others' opinions. Here is my case for the love that dare not speak its name between David and Nigel:

1) Nigel stating, "We took a look at each other and said we might as well join up" -- reaching a little I know, but wait.

2) At the Atlanta convention, David and Nigel both have herpes blisters on their mouths. (I did Google this topic and one person writing a blurb about the DVD release of Spinal Tap in 2000 stated that if you see the DVD, it will explain the herpes sores. I haven't seen the DVD. Maybe someone can shed some light on this subject.)

3) Nigel gets jealous and depressed when he hears David on the phone with his girlfriend. He becomes even more so after he finds out Janine is actually joining them on tour.

4) When Janine shows up, Nigel gets snippy and depressed.

5) Nigel repeatedly makes fun of Janine during the scene in the diner.(remember "Dobly?")

6) Janine is seethingly angry when Martie is interviewing her and David about Janine's relationship with the band, Nigel in particular, especially as David talks about how similar Janine and Nigel are. She gives David the evil eye.

7) Nigel stating that he and David are "closer than brothers" and that there relationship is "way beyond" normal brotherhood.

Anyway, maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it. If anyone has seen the DVD or has an opinion, please hit the 'Contact Me' button on the left and, well, contact me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Poetry Post #1

After you've been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior
acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what's your story? And you think maybe they really and
truly do
sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls, a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there's some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with mild astonishment in the bathroom
mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you've had time
to pick up where you left off with your enthralling life story,
they're telling you their life story, exactly as they'd intended
to all along,

and you're saying, Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, the vowel at last becoming
no more than an audible sigh,

as the elevator, halfway down the corridor and a turn to
the left,
draws one last, long, deep breath of exhaustion
and stops breathing forever. Then?

Well, one of you falls asleep
and the other one does likewise with a lighted cigarette
in his mouth,
and that's how people burn to death in hotel rooms.


Life Story
Tennessee Williams



And in honor of Tom's post today, here are some of my favorite Bob Dylan lyrics:

I can't feel you anymore, I can't even touch the books you've read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishin' I was somebody else instead.
Down the highway, down the tracks, down the road to ecstasy,
I followed you beneath the stars, hounded by your memory
And all your ragin' glory.

Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,
Blowing through the curtains in your room.
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
You're an idiot, babe.
It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe.


Idiot Wind
Bob Dylan

Monday, October 13, 2003

A Sad and Deeply Personal Post

I have seen her dozens of times, but she has never seen me, never turned around to face me, not one time. Sometimes I think she knows when I am there, in that little place off Commonwealth, because she seems to stand a little taller than I remember. I believe she's trying to seem more proud and confident than she was before, maybe so I don't worry about her like I used to. I always pause when I see her, wanting her to acknowledge my presence, but I know deep down she will not. She cannot. Even if she hasn't forgiven me for letting her slip out of my life, I want her to face me, just one more time, so that I may truly see how she's coping with her new life. She stands there in that same spot each time-- I don't think she ever moves -- her sleek but scarred back facing in my direction, almost begging me to run up and put my arms around her to let her know it's all right; she's loved so much in spite of her flaws. I want to drink in her earthy, wild scent just one more time. I want my hands to caress her body with all the feeling I was too reserved to show her in the past.

I've come to believe it's her flaws that make her as lovely as she is, actually. If she were perfect, I'd hardly be able to endure her beauty and I certainly wouldn't have been able to live with her for the better part of 4 years -- I would have felt so incredibly undeserving. She bears the scars of a horrible, drunken accident which took place in Greensboro, long before I knew her -- scars that she tried to cover up in the past, but are now plainly visible for all to see. Her physical scars she will now allow all to see, but the internal ones, the ones that have caused her the most damage and have ripped her out of my life, she will only allow a select few to witness.

She has been gone entirely from my life for over 3 months. I never thought I'd have to learn to live life again, a life without her in it and all the things we shared -- driving to work off Old Statesville Road together, listening to loud music, sometimes the same tape over and over again until I'd thought I'd go mad, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee in the early hours of the morning, taking my dogs for walks at Reedy Creek Park, me crying out of frustration as she tried to teach me to drive a manual transmission for the fourth time. These are times that I may try to repeat with someone else, someone new and different, but they will never be the same, just as I will never be the same, just as she will certainly never be the same. I thought I'd moved on, but when I stumbled upon her a few weeks ago, I knew I'd find excuses just to run by and see her, even if only her back, and hope that maybe a miracle might have occurred in her life.

Today, I actually shed a tear or two when I was in her presence. I know she has absolutely no use for me, nor I for her, as long as she stays in her current place and condition. It's time for me to let go and move on. I will not drive by the lonely spot off Commonwealth tomorrow. I will not. I will not do this to myself, not even just one last time. In all relationships, there is more affection shown from one partner than the other. I know I allowed her the power in our relationship. What we did, where we went and how much time we spent together, in the end, was all up to her flighty whims. I held much more affection for her than she did for me. This position of powerlessness, I vow, never to allow myself again in any relationship. It just hurts too much when it's over.

Goodbye, my 1988 Isuzu Trooper with the telephone-pole-shaped dent in the rear. You broke down and failed me for the last time a few moths ago when your transmission stopped. You were one of 3% of your type manufactured that year in Yugoslavia, a country which no longer exists, and Isuzu doesn't carry your replacement parts. I learned to drive stick shift inside your boxy, tan frame. I just had your 4-wheel drive fixed and I hadn't had the chance to use it yet. Yes, you were beautiful, warts and all, and just as most other beauties, you cost me a lot of money to maintain. I just happened to stumble upon you in someone else's yard, rear tire stripped off, exposing your remaining scars for all of us to see. Sold for the cash, I suppose. I will probably witness you being stripped piece by piece -- a sight I will not be able to bare, so I will not drive my new, ugly car by your makeshift graveyard any longer.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Bonus Post

I think I am suffering from the type of paranoia that only moving out of the Bible Belt will cure. See, I took out a book on tape from the local library to give me something different to listen to on my many trips to see my niece play field hockey. I took out The Cider House Rules by John Irving. I thought it would be a good choice because I like Irving and I haven't yet read the book or seen the movie. I have been listening to the tapes every time I'm in the car, even when not on a trip, and it's taking a long time to get through because it has like 15 tapes or something. The problem is that on the third tape, about 15 minutes into it, becomes unintelligible. It sounds to me like it was exposed to something magnetic. This is the only tape thus far that sounds that way. It just so happens that it is the tape that deals with the main character's sexual awakening -- masturbation and loss of virginity. I know this because the next tape, tape #4, talks about what happened in tape #3, but not in any detail. My first thought was that someone who lives in this ultra-Christian, conservative town erased the tape so that a child, or adult for that matter, couldn't hear it and be corrupted by it. Gosh, I hope I'm wrong and that it's just coincidental. I have had too much disheartening news lately about this land we live in.
Things I Saw While Driving Around Town Yesterday

I was driving right off of Central Avenue yesterday when I noticed what appeared to be a grey fire plug walking down the street. As I got closer, I saw a short, chunky, Mexican-Indian woman, who at least 70 years old, in a grey warm-up suit jogging her little heart out. "Jogging her little heart out" was, for her, jogging at about 1/2 mile per hour. She was so outside of the typical image of a Charlottean jogger that my mind couldn't wrap itself around what was happening. At first, I though she must be in some kind of trouble, but I realized she was jogging because she wanted to or, at the very least, was told she need to by some doctor. I was so proud of her. Boy, does that make me feel lazy.

Later on, I was stuck behind an elderly couple driving an old Ford pickup for quite a number of blocks on Commonwealth Avenue. The speed limit on Commonwealth is 35. They were traveling at about 20-25 miles per hour. I had no way to pass, and while I normally cut senior citizens some slack about being slow, this was ridiculous. Getting angrier and angrier and more and more frustrated as we pulled up to the final stop sign, I couldn't believe what I saw. The male who was driving the vehicle had obviously said something in jest to the female passenger because her hand slowly came up, her index finger was thrust forth, and she proceeded to poke the side of his head. He turned to her with what I imagine to be utter disbelief, at which time she faced forward in the seat once again. He then poked her in the side of the head. What ensued was nothing short of a good, old-fashioned slap fight, including howls of laughter, right at the corner of Pecan and Commonwealth. I didn't even care that they probably could have pulled out 5 or 6 times or that there were people in line behind me -- it was just such a joy to see that old couple play like children. It certainly did the heart some good. It also brought home what I've heard a lot of elderly people say: I may look old on the outside, but I'm just a kid on the inside. Here's hoping that we all are still capable of a good, silly slap fight until the day we die.

Friday, October 10, 2003

I am So Uncool

I'd really like to start blogging about what I'm reading and what I'm listening to but, truth be told, I don't tend to read or listen to anything 'cutting edge' anymore. As a matter of fact, I don't even know who half of the bands are that other bloggers list as people they are currently listening to. I think when 'alternative' music became mainstream, I went backward looking for something I enjoy listening to. There are exceptions to this rule, and I suppose all of those bands I list later as current bands I listen to could be considered mainstream, but I am proud to say, though, that I wouldn't know a Brittney, Justin or Christina -- truly mainstream crap -- song if it came right up and bit me on the ass.

What I've Been Listening To Lately

When I say "I went backward" to find music I really enjoy, I mean way back. Most of the music I have been currently enjoying is from the 1920's and 1930's. I've been listening to a lot of Django Reinhardt like "Les Yeux Noir" and "Harlem Swing." One truly embarrassing thing to admit is that when I first saw Woody Allen's movie tribute to great jazz guitarists "Sweet and Low Down, " I thought Django Reinhardt was a fictional character. I later discovered him though my '20s and '30s newsgroups. I am also in love with Louis Armstrong, especially when he's with the "Hot Five"; Cab Calloway, especially his version of "St. James Infirmary" with Louis Armstrong and "Take the A Train"; anything by Bessie Smith, who's described in her bio on this link as "a rough, crude, violent woman"; Billy Holiday, especially her versions of Gershwin and Cole Porter tunes; Mildred Bailey, and Duke Ellington. I'm truly a sucker for the 2-CD compilation of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers songs from all of their films entitled "Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers at RKO" by Rhino Records.

I am also a sucker for any and all of the good funk bands from the '70s. I have a hard time sitting still when I listen to Parliament, Rick James, Al Green, EWF, Kool and the Gang, Sly and the Family Stone, and Curtis Mayfield.

I still listen to the bands I grew up listening to: David Bowie, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, The Stones, Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen in the '70s; and Bad Brains, the Cult, Iggy Pop, the Smiths, the Talking Heads, the Cure, Elvis Costello, Squeeze, and the Clash to name a few.

Current bands I listen to are Beck, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, The White Stripes, and The Strokes.

So, if any of you out there know of any new bands, judging by what I've listed here, that I might enjoy, email me with the contact button on the left. Tomorrow I'll try to give you some idea of my most recently read books. It's gonna be weird, I can tell you that much.

P.S. Sorry about all the links -- I had the day off from work and was home alone and ...

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Sultan of Schwing?

Okay, so it was 1985, I was 16 years old, and I was on my first trip to Europe. I was in Munich, walking along by myself, which was strictly forbidden by my German teacher because, she said, "I don't want to have to call and tell your parents that you got kidnapped or anything!" Being the rebel that I was, the first second I could take off on my own, I did. See, I didn't want any of those unsophisticated 16-year-olds I was traveling with to cramp my style. (good god)

I needed to exchange some Schillings for Marks (the Euro really has made travel much easier), so I enter a bank on the Marienplatz about a block away from the Glockenspiel. I stood in line, got my Marks, and as I was leaving -- I was just about ready to push the door open -- a man in a little turban, and more silk than any one man has a right to wear at one time, popped out of a semi-hidden door in the front of the bank and followed me out onto the street. He started speaking rapidly to me in German, a language of which at that time I knew very little. So, in German I said that I was sorry, but I didn't speak German. He tried all sorts of languages until he hit upon the fact that I understood English. I'm not really sure why I didn't just tell him what language I spoke, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that I was raised in a very small town in Pennsylvania and had never seen anyone wearing a turban who hadn't just finished washing his hair. I should say that the turban wasn't a big one like the Sikhs wear; it was very small and close to the skull. It was also pink. It really stunned me.

Anyway, he told me that his boss -- I believe he said his boss was a sultan or something -- saw me in the bank and would like to request my presence for dinner that evening. Yes, that's actually what he said. I told him that I couldn't, that I had other plans, and he wanted to know what I was doing for lunch. I was trying to walk away because I was frightened, but at the same time I was also intrigued. I told him I had to meet some people for lunch. He proceeded to tell me that his boss was the owner of that particular bank and he had seen me as soon as I walked in, that he really wanted to meet me, and whatever I had to do certainly couldn't be more dire than meeting this important man. I didn't know what else to say, so I told the guy that I was 16 years old. His face went from a smile to a blank stare and wished me good day as I went on my way. Yes, he actually said 'good day.'

Many years have passed since that day, and every once in a while I'll sit around and wonder what would have happened had I gone: Would they have kidnapped me and thrown me into white slavery? Would the sultan have fed me dinner and then expected other things in return? Would he have married me and given me clothes and shoes and jewels and yachts and shit? I'll never know.

In the sultan story, it's the not knowing that depresses me a little. In this story, it's the knowing that American citizens could actually be this stupid depresses me a lot.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Holy Bible Clocks, Batman

As another holiday season approaches, I've been thinking about what gifts to give my friends and family. This year I have requested no gifts from anyone, just donations to my Send Ann To Cornwall Fund, but I still have to come up with gifts that the people I love will like. That's an important thing to me -- that the gifts I give won't just be thrown into some closet or given to Goodwill or, heaven forbid, be made fun of. I've decided to list some of gifts that have stood out over the years, either because they are so good or because they are so, so bad and have had the fate of being made fun of or given away.

The Best Gifts Ever

*Aaron took my favorite earring, whose partner I had lost when it fell out of my ear, and had it made into a ring. He even got the size right. This was our first Christmas together.

*Frank Lloyd Wright In Pop-Up book from Aaron last year, which combines my love of FLW with my love of collecting pop-up books.


The Worst Gifts Ever

And now for the fun stuff, all of which were given to us by Aaron's crazy-ass grandmother. Just to give you some background as to why I call her 'crazy ass': She's 75 years old. She tries to stay in tune with what she believes is currently hip or cool. So, a few years ago she watched a movie or read a book that had the expression 'cream my jeans' in it. She decided that was going to be her new catch phrase. She had absolutely NO idea what it actually meant; she just thought it was a hip, new expression. She decided to adopt it at a Thanksgiving day dinner with the entire family, most of whom knew what the expression meant. She must have used the expression 10 times in sentences like, "Oh, I just love those photographs you emailed me. They just made me cream my jeans" and "Did you know that Doc Watson actually played my fiddle? He is so talented, he just makes me cream my jeans." We were stuck between cringing and wanting to hide every time she said it and wanting to laugh every time she said it. There was no avoiding her, either; the woman is loud. She is also insane which should explain some of the gifts we've gotten over the years.

*A 'Magnetic Window Protector' which has, as far as I can tell, absolutely no use. The package doesn't even tell you what to use it for. It's supposed to be for a windshield, I believe, but it doesn't look quite big enough. We have kept it anyway, just in case our windshield ever really needs a good protecting.

*An 'Emergency Rain Poncho' which is khaki green in color. For what kind of emergency, an armed military uprising? Guerilla warfare? Revolution? Needless to say, there'd have to be an emergency of some sort to get me to wear that big, green, plastic thing in public.

*A big, padded hanger covered in material that looks like a man's suit. Did you ever see those t-shirts that give the illusion that the wearer has donned a suit and tie? Imagine that but a lot larger and padded.

*A magnetic clip with an artist's palette and 'AARON' written on it. It's for hanging children's artwork. Too bad Aaron was 26 when he received this gem.

*A rosary bead necklace with matching earrings. I am not a Catholic and never have been, but I think she's trying to get some converts. See, CAG was excommunicated for divorcing her first husband in the early '50s. We think she still holds onto the idea that she's going to burn in a fiery pit in hell for her transgression, as she still has statuettes of the Virgin all over her house and she gives items like this as gifts. If she does end up in hell, I think it has more to do with her saying 'cream my jeans' over and over to her family.

*An 'Entertainment Center' which came in a 6"x6"x6" box. Yes, she bought us an entire entertainment center. I think it holds like 8 CD's or something. I think she shops somewhere that sells all of the rejects from the dollar store.


*3 house dresses or 'moo-moo's,' as the Hawaiians say. These were purchased for her three, low-slung-jeans-wearing-Abercrombie-and Fitch-shopping teenage granddaughters. Aaron's mom used them for Halloween last year.

*And last but not least, my all-time favorite, a 'Holy Bible Alarm Clock' which was a special gift for both of us she said. You can see what the outside looks like from the photo. It looks like a small book. What you can't see is that the book opens up and has a picture of Jesus tending his flock on the right-hand side, and on the left-hand side it has glow-in-the-dark numbers over another picture of a halo-ed JC kneeling over a large rock in prayer. And it's not just a regular alarm clock -- it plays music! Unfortunately, I can't tell you what it plays because it hasn't worked since the day we got it.

At least Christmas is always entertaining. I probably shouldn't make fun of her. If I get anymore eccentric, that may be me one day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Shallow Gal

Okay, I'll admit it: I've really been loving all the young college guys who've been looking my way in Chapel Hill. There, I've actually said it. It's probably because I'm 34 and going through a semi-midlife crisis already. It also doesn't help that my husband is a number of years younger than I am. But to be honest, the real reason I love it is that I was never looked at when I was in college by men, or women for that matter. It probably had to do with the look of rage and self loathing I had on my face everyday. That, and it was the late '80s and instead of big hair and Guess jeans I wore Che Guevara -- the world's only cute revolutionary by the way -- and 'Free Nelson Mandela' t-shirts, lots of black, and lots of army wear from around the world. I looked like an angry militant, which is exactly what I was.

On Sunday, as I was walking to the game from the coffee house, a Jeep loaded down with young college guys came down the street I was walking on. They were, as is said in the South, 'hooting and hollering.' As I was the only one walking down the street and they were all leaning my direction, I confidently assumed they were hooting and hollering at me. And they were, but as they got closer I could tell they were actually saying something, all of them in unison. It turned out they were yelling, "John 3:16! John 3:16!" I was surprised they could tell that I was a heathen and a sinner from that distance and in that short period of time. Usually people have to spend at least 5 minutes with me to know I'm both sinner and heathen all wrapped up in one. Can anyone hear the sound of a balloon popping? So much for my ego.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Tom Finally Got a Job, Thanks to my Presence

Well, anyone who reads Tom's site knows that he finally got a job. The timing couldn't have been more perfect: I walk in the door, say hello, start bringing my stuff in from the car, and the phone rings. He got the job! Now do you see the kind of blessings I bring to people? Just 5 minutes around me and BAM! -- new job. Way to go Tom (the blogger formally known as Chavez).

I had a great weekend in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. In Raleigh, time spent with Tom is always good, but it was made even more spectacular by the trip a new used bookstore. I got Pablo Neruda's memoirs (Confieso Que He Vivado) for $2; The Facts, A Novelist's Autobiography, by Philip Roth for $1; Tennessee Williams' Memoirs, which should interest me, shock me and teach me all about pharmaceuticals, for only $2, hardbound; and Tom found for me a book I've been wanting for a long time: Ernest Hemingway Selected Letters 1917-1961, by Carlos Baker. It is hardbound, with the dust jacket even, for $2. This is now my favorite used book store. I would tell you the name of it, if I could remember what it is. Raleigh has a few good ones. Tom also took me to meet one of his friends who collects cool things. I love collections of stuff, even stuff I would never collect. He and his wife collect antique toasters and pin-up match books. I could have spent even more hours than I did just rifling through all of their stuff. I love to rifle. Rifle, rifle, rifle.

Chapel Hill, on the other hand, was just okay. Yes, the Tar Heel field hockey team won both of their games, but I was going through an I-Am-the-Black-Sheep-of-My-Family phase. I mean, I am always the black sheep of my family, but sometimes it's just a little more obvious than others. I look like no one in my family. Okay, I looked a little like my dad when he was alive. I'm 5'9" with blondish hair and blue eyes with kind of a lanky. My mom and sister and niece are all about 5'4" and my mom and sister have brown eyes and hair. They are all short, strong-looking women. They could all kick my ass, and most of them have at one point or another. It's not about looks, though. I come from family of athletic overachievers -- they golf and run and play paddle ball and basketball and hockey and tennis and raquetball. The only thing I ever excelled at was drinking everyone under the table in college, which I don't think is 'athletic' unless you count running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, and cooking. Now that I am a raw foodist who doesn't cook at all and I don't drink alcohol anymore, well, what can I say? My family are all very staunch Republicans. When I came of voting age, I became a member of the Socialist Workers Party. I have since rested somewhere in the middle politically, but our views are as different as night and day. I dyed my hair all kinds of silly colors. They all have the same color hair they've always had. I liked "Amelie," and none of the rest of my family was able to sit through it. The list goes on and on (and on). But just as I don't love them any less for their differences, I'm sure they don't love me any less because I'm a freak. They'd better show me the love, because I was just reminded of the one thing I really do excel at: Making people's lives a living hell. Just kidding.




Friday, October 03, 2003

The Double Dooce

Bonus Entry

You all probably know this by now, but I'm gone for the weekend. I just wanted to let you know about some other blogs that I love to read, usually on a daily basis. The first one is dooce. She's witty, hilarious and beautiful. I hate her. Seriously, she makes me laugh out loud almost every time I go to her site. Be sure to check out the "How to Charm Me" and the "How to Annoy Me" archives. If I were a guy, I'd want to marry her. The next one is A Wanna Be Spiritual Guru, which is for the ethereal side we all possess. He takes a hard look at practicing basic and not-so-basic spiritual principles in everyday life. The next one is 42short for great commentary and observations about ... well, it's Seinfeldian in nature -- not about anything in particular. The last one is Michaelcosm for when you're in the mood for a good tune.

Talk to you Monday.


Snoop, Crackhead and Pop

I got a retainer yesterday; you know those stupid things teenagers wear? Well, I got one and my orthodontist was telling me over and over how he had it made in all kinds of special, special ways so that it wouldn't interfere with my speech. Well, it does. I sound exactly like Lou Ferrigno with a lisp.

Due to my new speech impediment, I decided I needed to go to a place where the conversation is kept to a bare minimum. So, I went to the main library in town to get cheesy biographies and a book on tape for the long trip to see Chavez. The first thing I do when I go is head straight for the new adult nonfiction, which I did. The next place I go is all the way in the back to the biography section, where I could spend hours. I always have to ask myself what type of biographies am I in the mood for -- ones where I might learn something useful or ones that are just a guilty indulgence? I think "Tha Doggfather," by Snoop Dogg fits both criteria. I'm sure he's going to teach me things about 'smokin' up' and 'gang bangin' I just couldn't learn anywhere else. Plus, I mean, it's a book written by friggin' Snoop Dogg, what kind of bio indulgence could be any more guilt producing?

As soon as I set foot on the second floor, where it is much quieter than the first floor, I know there's going to be a problem. See, I have these low-rise jeans that have a crotch that hangs lower than my actual ... well, crotch(if I were a man, I'd be crying right about now) and, thanks to a recent weight loss, are a little too big around the hips; so they'll slip down a little when I walk a lot, making the crotch even longer(the pants' not mine). Now, this isn't something you can see with the naked eye because they are 'stretch' jeans and they are full of Lycra. You can't see it, but you can hear it. They make a "pop" every time I take a step, kind of like a snap. In a normal place with a normal level of noise, it goes by undetected, which is why I continue to wear them. But in a place like the second floor of the library, especially in the biography section, it sounds like I'm passing some really tight-assed wind, or my crotch is snapping its fingers at you. Either way, not good.

Luckily, I just have to walk past those desks up there to get back to the bio section where I'm usually alone. But not today. Today is another "Attract a Homeless Crackhead" day for Ann. This happens almost every third time I'm in there. On my way back to the bio section, I see him out of the corner of my eye, and I can sense he's looking right at me. I walk all the way back to the M's, looking for a really sleazy Jim Morrison bio a friend in England told me about. He follows one row behind me. I change rows. He changes rows. And of course I'm easy to follow with my pants snapping along in time with my every step. Finally, he decides to come into my row. Now this is TCFC -- too close for comfort, so I turn to look at him. Sometimes a good snarl goes along way, especially if it's a lispy, Lou Ferrigno snarl, but no go. He sits on the floor, Indian-style, with his book. I know then that it's up to me to leave, and I do. I go somewhere that I'm 99% sure he won't follow -- the women's bathroom. I let the women in there wonder about the snapping for a while before I go check out. Like, I'm supposed to believe that he's reading a bio of Marcel Proust? I doubt it.

Quote of the Day

"Marvin used to come around the crib every once in a while and he and I would share one of those big fat blunts he'd roll up with that homegrown shit of his. We'd get ... in that no-hassle zone where everything is cool and nothing can mess with your head until someone next door would start cooking up some barbecue and get you so hungry you'd have to get your ass up and eat a half dozen peanut butter sandwiches or a box of Cheerios or whatever else ... your mama hadn't nailed down. Those were good times."

Snoop Dogg
Tha Doggfather
Describing what it's like to get the munchies.


Thursday, October 02, 2003

Oh, Coffee, My Coffee

Okay, I’ll admit it: I am the world’s biggest coffee addict. Part of it is physical, obviously with the caffeine and everything, but a big part is also psychological and sensual. I love the taste, the smell and the warmth of a good cup of coffee. I even love decaf. The problem with this addiction is that I am allergic to coffee. Yes, you heard me: Allergic to coffee, the quaff of the gods. I can eat all raw fruits, nuts and veggies since April without hardly even a craving for pizza or steak or fries, but I cannot go one day without thinking about coffee. I dream about it, even. When I drink it, I get a rush, even with decaf. Then I get sick to my stomach. That lasts for at least 24 hours after one cup. I get depressed after the high. That can last for 48 hours after the cup. It makes all other foods burn a whole in my stomach. That can also last for 24 hours. I get irritable. That lasts forever, according to my husband. So, why do I ever, ever do this to myself? I’ve been asking myself that for a long time and the answer I’ve come up with is this: I love coffee more than I love myself. What an addict. You could go to any treatment center, substitute the word ‘crack’ for coffee, and they’d know exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

The reason I mention this to you today is that tomorrow I can have a cup of coffee, and it’s all I’ve been thinking about all day. Really. I’ll get the largest size with an extra shot for good measure. I literally feel those little, anticipatory, tingly, happy butterflies in my stomach just mentioning it. See, tomorrow my niece has a field hockey game. I allow myself to have coffee on the days she’s playing. I used to only allow myself coffee on holidays, but I realized that I can construe my forays to Chapel Hill to see her as a ‘holiday.' It is for me anyway. Really. See, there I go justifying my coffee consumption. I’m a textbook case of addiction. I should be locked away somewhere for treatment. Well, I’d better get back to my java fantasies. Just 24 more hours. I can make it. Plus, there’s another game on Sunday …

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