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[about the author]

i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish, eh?

i work crossword puzzles in ink.

i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie izzard. can't decide, really.

i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really good aunt.

i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.

i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.

i never play dumb. never.

i am way too hard on myself.

i am a change agent.

i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.

i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.

i am militantly pro-choice.

i am pro-adoption.

i know a little bit about alot of things.

i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.

i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it. hard.

i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.

i have been known to hold a grudge.

i have hips.

i am not my sister.

i am lousy at forgiving myself.

i am an indoor kind of gal.

i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.

i am 32 flavors. and then some.

[the ones people ask about]
Rittenhouse Review
Investment Banking Monkey
Cheap Ticket News
iPhone News
Hotels and Travel News
Latest on Retirement Planning
Consumer News and Reviews

[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]

[the old stuff]


<< current

[all content copyright 2007 by tequila mockingbird. seriously.]


absolutely the best cinco de quatro ever
recently, i took a much-needed break and headed to the sandy florida shores with a bunch of folks far cooler than i, all of whom i came to know via blogging.

the whole "people i met online" thing is a really tough situation to explain to people who aren't familiar. you say, "yeah, i started reading her blog, and then i commented a couple of times and sent her an email and we started im'ing and now we're going to hang out at the beach for four days." and, even though i get it myself, i have to admit that while i'm typing that i can see how people think it's crazy. or weird. or a violation of some sort of stalker law.

but in a lot of ways, the internet is just a big subdivision. and the blogs you read are the neighbors you go borrow a cup of sugar from, or go drink coffee with. although, in some ways, i think it's even better now because, really, the only reason my mom ever went to bobbi dean caldwell's house to borrow sugar and spend some time chatting was because bobbi dean caldwell happened to buy a house across the street from us. it's not like mom had much in common with bobbi dean. i think she might have actually been a wee bit afraid of her. understandably so, really, but that's a story for another time.

but with the internet, i don't go hang out at the beach with erin and cory just because. i go hang out with them -- and with cait and scott and michelle and mark and leslie and natalie and julie and even mia -- because i genuinely like them. except mia. that girl is clearly trouble. i mean, i tried, like, 85 times to have a simple conversation with her about site statistics and she would barely even look at me. so what if she's four. or eight. or whatever. and she doesn't have a blog. i don't see the relevance.

the reason i choose to spend time with them is that i connect with them. i think they're funny. or smart. or funny and smart. or just because i think they're hot [shout out to snowy and leo -- we missed you, pumpkins!]. so, in some ways, yes, maybe it is weird to have "online friends" who somehow end up squarely in your "real" life. but in some ways it's soooo much better than just spending time with people out of convenience or proximity.

so, we packed up enough alcohol to float a small cargo ship and hit the shore. the house was beautiful, the bunk beds surprisingly comfortable, and the guitar hero action was fast and furious. and even a small ebola outbreak at the end of the trip couldn't drown out the wonderful memories of lava flows for breakfast, margarita shooters in the pool for lunch and lots of flavored vodka for dinner. plus, we invented a totally new holiday that, as i am best able to piece things together, involves nothing more taxing than drinking while standing in a pool. and maybe eating. maybe.

i decided to be all clever and take advantage of the fact that we had so many smart, funny, talented writers gathered under one roof. i told everyone that i was starting a story and that everyone needed to take a turn adding to it. i'm pretty sure that when i announced that i got little more than the whir of a blender and the thwang of matthew sweet's girlfriend via guitar hero in response. because, you know, what everyone wants to do is be given a creative writing homework assignment while they're trying to get [more] drunk.

but, everyone was a good sport and each took their turn in time. i have to admit that when i wrote the opening i deliberately left what i thought were more than a few doors open through which we might go. but, uh...you know what happens when you sort-of-but-not-really make an assumption.

so, to my friends [formerly online, now squarely real life], i say: happy cinco de quatro, people. hope to see you soon.

and now, the fruits of too much alcohol and quentin tarantino movies*.

*and, uh, just like any good tarantino movie, there's some...uh...language. and...uh...violence.

The heat of the morning sun was intense and the reflection on her laptop screen made it all but impossible to do any work. She resigned herself to the notion that she would have to spend the day actually doing nothing – a skill she had never truly mastered.

The sliding glass door dragged along the track behind her. She counted in her head, waiting to hear his voice, dreading the beginning of yet another day of dealing with him. His banality. His ragged cuticles.

One Mississippi…two Mississippi….

“Wow! One more perfect day, huh?”

She was glad her back was to him so she didn’t have to exert any effort to not roll her eyes. He was so predictable. So fucking predictable.

“So…what should we do today?”

“My plan is to do nothing. I’m officially on vacation,” she said, closing the laptop in front of her and reaching for her second bloody mary of the day.

“Well, I was thinking about biking today. Maybe find a trail somewhere along the way. Do a little hiking. Snap some shots. What do you think?”

She sat staring at the water, waiting just long enough to make it clear to him that this was, in fact, an awkward silence.

“Sounds like you’re going to have a great day. I’ll see you when you get back.”

The sound came from inside the house. To someone who was hearing it for the first time, it would be difficult to figure out exactly what it was. If pressed to guess, the uninitiated might speculate that someone was running shards of glass through a disposal.

She jumped up from her chair and turned to face him. He knew the vitriol to come. She didn’t even need to open her mouth – the accusation was written all over her face. She was so predictable. So fucking predictable.

“Of course. I guess I have to do everything myself. I should have known, right? Should have fucking known.”

He smiled at her. “Hey, why don’t you go fuck yourself? You’re so goddamn self-righteous. Like you ever do one fucking thing….”

“That wasn’t the agreement. You know that was never the agreement. This wasn’t my stupid fucking plan.”

The noise was louder now. Definitely louder.

Two boys playing on the beach stopped their game of catch, their faces turned toward the house inquisitively. An elderly couple setting up their beach umbrella paused, the man looking toward the sky.

“Fix it. Take care of it. Do whatever you need to do. Just do it now. The last thing we need is attention.”

“Then hand me that,” he said, pointing to the bag on the ground next to her, “and go park your fucking miserable ass by the pool.”

“I don’t think so. This bag isn’t community property. It’s mine, you fuck,” she growled.

“But you…you just said to do whatever I need to do! We have a problem. I need the bag to fix it. You’re infuriating for the sake of being infuriating, you know that? Why don’t you stop being a cunt for five minutes and think about the endgame? Is that possible?”

She dropped to a knee, kicked the other leg out and spun. He saw the arc of her foot, was transfixed by it. She was like an ocean wave, rolling and violent, yet smooth. He didn’t see her hand as it thrust into the bag and grabbed the leather wrapped hilt of the sword. But he didn’t need to see. She was predictable, after all. He knew this was coming.

The blade sliced the tendons on the back of both of his knees. Shlip-shlip. He heard the sound and felt his calves and ankles warm with blood.

“Here’s your endgame, you cocksucker,” she said, standing.

He was face down on the ground now, pushing himself to an elbow.

“Fucking cunt,” he spat through clenched teeth.

“Oh, now, that is really unnecessary. Name calling can lead to domestic violence. Let’s not let this escalate to something we’ll regret.”

He flipped to his back and grabbed at her wildly.

“I don’t have time to play slap and tickle with you right now. I’ve got to deal with our little problem in the other room before someone decides that something’s amiss at the Franklin place,” she sighed, turning to the staircase.

“You’ll never make it without me,” he yelled as her foot hit the first stair.

“Oh, is that right? You’ve been the glue, have you? You’ve been the architect? The mastermind?”

She turned back to him.

“I’m smart enough to have hidden the package from you,” he said evenly.

“You piece of shit, fucking motherf-“

“I’m smart enough to know that your goddamn temper won’t allow you to focus on what’s best for us both.” He snarled against the pain.

“Where is it, I swear to Christ, I’ll…”

Again the crash, from upstairs.

The enormous mastiff next door was up from his nap now, zero to a hundred, barking in protest.

“So what’s your plan, Maria? You going to mastermind some shit of your own?”

“One more word outta you and I’m gonna cut off your goddamn head.”

She spun and continued up the stairs, half-sprinting. Greg’s stepsons had gotten themselves untied again. Maria had left the bag downstairs, next to Greg’s flailing body, but nothing in there would do him any good. Besides, she had the sword.

At the top of the stairs, Maria realized the sound had stopped. Silence. She swung her head side to side, looking for the danger that was sure to come. The hallway in both directions was empty, the door in front of her closed. She crouched down and waited for a clue. And then she heard a voice. It was Peter, the oldest.

“You’re gonna pay for what you did, bitch,” he snarled down the hallway to her left. “And not what you did to our dad. Just give us what we came for and you might live.”

Maria turned her body toward the voice, ready to spring into action, sword forward.

“I know what you’re up to, Peter, you little shit. You won’t do it. You won’t finish the job.” Maria focused on the door that was ajar at the end of the hall. She knew he didn’t have a gun, but he’d be ready with something. She was sure of it.

Again there was an unsettling silence, punctuated with Greg’s violent shouts from outside. Just as Maria was about to launch herself forward, she heard a subtle crack behind her. She swiveled her head just in time to see Paul, smiling menacingly, crossbow in hand.

“Oh, a crossbow? Seriously?” Maria stopped short and snorted. “What is this, 1794?” The look of resigned indignation never had a chance to fully register on Paul’s face before he found himself face down on the carpet with significantly less small intestine.

“Peter? Where you at?” she called. “Bring your fucking bow staff with you when you come, okay?” She could hardly scream unveiled threats, she was laughing so hard. “Put your chainmail on and bring your cannon. Idiot.” Somewhere in the house Peter slithered to a standstill.

Okay, think. Think, think, think! Maria had to find the package before shit really started falling down. She clamped her hands down over her ears to block out the sound. The ceiling fan collapsed into the family room. Something in Paul’s torso gurgled. If she were Greg, where would she hide the package? Think! Suddenly Maria’s eyes snapped open. She smirked. And strode back out onto the patio.

“So yeah,” she announced, satisfied, blocking Greg’s messy yet tenacious crawl. “For half a second there I forgot that you’re a gaping, trembling vagina-pants? And you don’t have the sack to actually hide shit.”

With the arm he wasn’t using to support his body weight Greg threw Maria the bird. And bit her on the calf. She kicked him in the skull on her way back inside to the vault. Did she say “idiot” already? Because goddamn.

“I’m disappointed in you as a person!” Pretty Disgusting By Now Greg was barely audible over the Capital M “Mess” in the basement. Maria kept walking. The FBI was going to be there any second. And not in a good way.

“Hey! HEY!” Greg screamed, lifting himself as far as possible off the ground. Maria paused. “Did you know they’re making a sitcom about those cavemen from the Geico commercial?”

Maria turned. “Seriously? About what? About car insurance?”

“I’m not sure.” Greg propped his triangular-ish head up on one arm. Casual. “I read something in People.” His left leg tapped its toes involuntarily. Like thirteen feet away.

Maria crossed her arms. Shifted her weight. Puzzled. “So are they going to have that cartoon lizard thing in it, too? How are they going to fill a whole half-hour with insurance cavemen?”

Greg pushed a soft lock of sunkissed auburn hair out of his fucked up face. Cas-u-al. “I don’t know, Baby. I just read an article, Jesus. It was People for Christ’s sake. And I really like those cavemen,” he added, taking shit to a whole new level. “It’s such a brilliant example of how post-post-modernism is answering our stereotypical notions of human and humanoid identity, and how the theory of material culture plays into and reacts to modern day ‘language’.” He had to prop his jagged torso against the porch railing to make the finger quote thing happen for “language” and it hurt like a motherfucker.

So while Maria no doubt thought that the four-and-a-quarter seconds it then took her to immediately rip Greg’s fleshy head from his fleshier body was the best spent increment of time she’d ever had the pleasure of experiencing, she had no way of knowing that Peter was behind her. Bow staff in his hand, cannon on his back. Cannonball in front of him where he’d rolled it into the room because holy shit, cannonballs are heavy.

The phone rings. Maria and Peter looked at one another: Maria’s hand on the hilt of her sword, ready to draw, Peter holding one of those long red grill lighters pointed at the fuse on the cannon on his back.

The phone rings again. “You know when that canon goes off, it’s going to fucking destroy you, right?”“At least I’ll take you down with me.”
Maria pauses to consider this. “Fuck’s sake, Peter. Standby.”

She picks up the cell phone with her left hand and awkwardly flips it open. Her right hand sits on the sword hilt, still vigilantly watching Pete. His fingertips twitch on the safety for the grill lighter. “Hello?” She mouths, Don’t fucking think about it, at him. “Oh hey. Yeah… Um, yeah. You know what Mom, I’m gonna have to get back to you about Thanksgiving. We’ve got a little bit of a situation going on here---No, no, it’s nothing serious, it’s just, you know. These kids,” and she gives Peter a squinty hateful glare, “These kids are driving me over the edge today. Yeah. It’ll be fine. I’m just gonna have to call you back, Ma. Thanks. K, love you too. Bye.”

Peter shifts under the weight of the cannon, dropping his bow staff to readjust the load on his back. Maria seizes her opportunity and flicks her wrist and cuts the tendon in Peter’s grill-lighter wrist. “Goddamnit, you whore!!” Peter drops to the ground, dropping the cannon behind him and grasping his right wrist with his left hand to stop the blood.

“Peter, I swear to god. I told your dad when I got involved with him that I didn’t like kids. Fuck’s sake.”

She sets the sword down behind her, out of Pete’s reach, and takes her belt off. Wrenches his hands behind his back and cinches them behind him to his feet, hog-tying him with the belt, which is now covered in Peter’s sticky blood. “Fuck, kid. You’re a mess.”

Maria stands up and looks at her hands, covered in blood. She looks down at her pants, and then wipes both her hands on the front of Pete’s shirt. “Gross. There goes my manicure.”

Maria picks her sword back up and straightens her blouse and turns, headed, Peter assumes, for the vault.

"That dog! That GOD, DAMNED, DOG! What will it take to get that son of a bitch to shut the fuck up?!"

Clearly Maria was a little more than agitated at this point. She was almost spent—the love-gone relationship, the go-nowhere sex, the pills, the bills, hormones… and now, “that fucking sunburn” is almost more than she can handle.

Taken individually-- these “issues” were facts of life and completely manageable. Not today. Today she’s losing it.

Control has always been Maria’s best asset, but: the welling hate, the anger, the smell of blood, as well as all these other factors have combined into her slipping over the edge of sanity.

The dog’s incessant bark will be that final push.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"I live at 1110 East Gulf."


"My name is Graham."

"My pedigree is Mastiff."

"Bull Mastiff to be exact."

"Not sure where the 'Bull' part of that comes from."

"But anyway."

"I’m bored."

"Damned bored."

"I’ve been stuck in this room all day."

"No TV."

"I’ve been trying to get your attention."

"Since this morning."

"To take me."


"For a walk."


"Maybe a jog."

"And definitely."

"A dump."


"Can you hear me?"

"Seriously?! Hello!"

"I can hear."


"I’ll be a good."


"I swear."

"Pinky swear."


Graham’s persistence would pay off, he just knew it. If only he could keep up his seemingly futile conversation with the silent abyss. He knew in his big, oversized heart of hearts his fortune would change.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The last bleating yelp from the neighbor’s dog caused Maria’s right eye to twitch in a way that made Peter realize she had just broken from reality.

And then a giant robot came out of nowhere and blew up the house with a ray gun.

The End.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


shut. up.
so, yeah. i was gone. for, um, a while. but don't think for one second, internet, that i wasn't thinking about you. because i was. really. i swear.

but i was also thinking about my insane workload. i had this project that i was managing and i was working about 20 hours a day [for those of you who, like me, ditched math just as soon as your 11th grade guidance counselor said "well, math is really optional from this point...", let me just break that down for you: that's not much time for anything other than work.].

the pace of the project kept right on going. it started ramping up last year...around april or so. and it just ended last week. at one point, i left my house and didn't set foot back in it for eight weeks.

eight. weeks. in a row.

let me just share with you the fact that, even if you have the most fantastic of fantastic wardrobes with all sorts of high-end designer togs and all manner of luxe accessories, you are absolutely, positively, let-there-be-no-doubt-about-it sick and freaking tired of your clothes after eight weeks of not being able to wear anything other than those clothes you put in that suitcase back when you didn't actually know that you wouldn't be able to go home at all in those eight weeks.

sure, there's online shopping. if you want to use those four precious hours for stuff like that [and i did, of course, because who can sleep when j. crew is having 25% off final clearance?!]. but then there's the issue of your suitcase. and how it was already jam-packed when you left. so trying to fit eight weeks of late-night-bleary-eyed-buy-more-because-it's-on-clearance-so-it's-not-like-you're-spending-money-you're-really-just-saving-money! online shopping into that jam-packed suitcase is...well, the suitcase didn't survive. i'll just leave it at that and spare you the gory details.

so, during The Project [you know it's serious when i resort to capitalization], i occasionally logged in to my blogger account just to make sure everything was a-ok. having said that, you should know that i didn't really check in on my hotmail account so much. so, um...sorry about that. except those of you [we won't name any names, nicholas kennedy] who wrote really vitriolic and downright assholistic emails attacking my writing and, if i'm not mistaken, my physical appearance. yeah, to you i offer no apologies. and also: if you hate my writing, then stop. reading. it.

but, yeah, to everyone who wrote nice emails, sorry i didn't get back to you. and thanks very much for taking time to write. you rock. way more than that nicholas kennedy kid, that's for sure. what a tool that kid is.

so things seemed fine. and then, about two weeks ago, i thought "hey, you know something? i have had some really intense things happen in my life over the past year and a half. and i kind of miss the internet. and i might actually have some time to write again." [ed. note: turns out that after a year of getting no more than three hours of sleep a night, your body isn't really all that interested in sleeping anymore. period. ever again. not even when you say "hey, body! guess what! The Project is over! we can now sleep! our favorite thing -- other than eating...and having sex...and shopping! i even took a whole day off just so we can sleep!" your body pretty much says "i'd rather shop." this cannot be healthy.]

so, that's when i tried to log in to my blogger account to start figuring out what to do next. and, lo, there came a resounding thud as my account credentials were summarily pshaw'ed by the blogger site.

"wow," i thought. "you know it's been a while when you can't even remember your account information that you used every day for so long." but no matter what i tried, blogger denied me.

i panicked. what if my blog had been dismantled?! what if it had been labeled "abandoned"?! i began furiously typing, holding my breath as i pressed enter.

and there it was. my blog.

sort of.

at first blush, everything looked fine.

"stupid blogger whores," i muttered. "google comes knocking and next thing i know you puke up some google ads all over my site. who do you think i am [insert name of former-mormon-blogger-who-was-fired-from-her-job-and-i'm-not-entirely-sure-but-might-have-a-baby-or-something here]? and also, where's my check, you bastards?!

but then i noticed that the google ads weren't the only change. gone was the link to comment on a post. gone was the link to email me. as a matter of fact, gone was every external link i had on the site. the only external link i could see was one for "adult friends meet now!" and "buy real estate in hrganda, egypt."

don't get me wrong: i like adult friends. i'm all for them meeting. and i hear hrganda is lovely. but something was amiss.

then i realized that several of my old posts had been reposted, and i had a very bad feeling.

i hit the blogger forums and saw lots of posts about blogs disappearing, blogs being inadvertently deleted, blogs being redirected and stolen and generally abused in ways that make you really irritated with stupid people who do things like steal blogs.

don't get me wrong: i like porn. okay, i really like porn. but just the good kinds. with high production values. and some semblance of a plot. i mean, it doesn't have to have some sort of crazygonuts intersecting storylines a la traffic or babel or pulp fiction or anything like that, i'm just saying that even a specious effort at a plot goes a long way toward making me an enthused consumer.

you'd forgotten how utterly maddening my sudden digressions can be, hadn't you?

so, anyway...i just think there's enough porn on the internet without having to resort to stealing other people's blogs and redirecting them to porn sites or putting in stupid links to "adult friends meet now!"

but, as much as i read on the blogger forums, i couldn't find any description that sounded exactly like what i was running into. so, no choice but to email blogger support.

i sent an email apologizing for the complicated nature of what i was trying to explain and what it seemed to me had happened [the only thing i could surmise was that someone had actually hacked my blogger account, changing the credentials so my email address was no longer associated with the blogger account.]

back came the response:

we are sorry to hear that you think someone else is trying to log in with your google account. please click this link to reset your google account password.

okay, no. i don't even have a google account. that wasn't what i said at all, blogger support. so, i emailed back to say that i really appreciated the speedy response, but, um, that wasn't what the problem was. and i tried explaining again. and back came the response:

we are sorry that is not the problem. if someone else is not trying to log in to your google account, you can delete the email.

what, that's it? just delete the email? problem solved? but, deleting that email -- unless i am missing some cool magical power inherent in deleting an email that contained information of no use to you -- doesn't, in any way, shape or form fix my problem.

so, i tried again. and this time i talked about how they gave rights to all my writing to some random adult-friend-obsessed egyptian donald trump and how that would, technically, make them complicit in violating my copyright. and how i really don't want to lose all that writing, i just want it back. but if they couldn't somehow undo what stupid thing had happened, then...well...some of you might remember what happened when the internet got mad at bryan lamb that one time he stole my writing. and that was just some of it. this was all of it.

you, internet, are apparently very scary. because shortly after i put up that banner about my site having been hijacked and how blogger wasn't, um, "helping," i got a late-night email from karl at blogger support.

click this link to reset your password. your account is linked to your email address again.

[note to karl: anytime you're anywhere on the eastern seaboard and want to make out, you just email me.]

so, i still have clean up to do here. sadly, all you cool folks who were featured links along the left will have to be re-linked. and since i haven't written an html tag in a year, that could take me a while.

i logged in to blogger today to start working on the site and got a message that blogger wants me to move to the "new and improved blogger." a quick view of the forums suggests that by "new and improved" they [karl and his friends] mean it eats your blog and makes it go away.

so, yeah, karl... i'll get right on that "upgrade" to the new service.

right after i get back from my vacation home in hrganda.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]


an open letter to the banana republic brain trust
normally i don’t write letters to faceless corporate entities. and i know i’m not the first letter you have received regarding the pressing matter i’m about to address. as a matter of fact, i’ve seen several blogs mention the matter i’m about to address, but i wanted to write to you anyway. (oh, banana republic, i hope you’re not one of those faceless corporate entities who has a problem with the word “blog.” because, really, they’re blogs. that’s what they are. that’s why they call it blogger. because they’re blogs. so that’s what i call them. blogs. but i digress from the matter at hand.)

actually, i say i “wanted” to write to you, and that’s not true at all. “compelled” is probably a word that more closely captures what i felt.

recently, i was perusing the pages of instyle magazine when i came across an ad from your holiday campaign. it was lovely and had lots of snow, and was very holidayesque in its loveliness and its snowiness.

now, normally, i wouldn’t stop to look at one of your ads. why is that? well, i'm glad you asked, banana republic, because there are a few reasons why.

i used to be a loyal banana republic – do you mind if i call you br? typing banana republic over and over is getting to be rather cumbersome – shopper, back in the day. back then your name made sense. you sold the sort of offbeat-type stuff one might find in an army surplus store, if the army was the british colonial-era army off in some exotic tropical location which they were gentrifying as quickly as possible. you were sort of petermanesque back then, with a quirky little catalog containing detailed descriptions and intriguing little backstories for every item. i had loads of your safari motif t-shirts and your cargo shorts.

then, something happened.

actually, i think it was the gap that happened. they came along and borg’ed you and the next thing i knew, not only could i not get a pair of british colonial army surplus cargo shorts, but i couldn’t even get a pair of pants for less than $59.99. furthermore, it seems that someone over at the borg has a problem with the following:

- hips
- thighs
- asses

yes, the borg seems to be using you as its first line of defense in the war against women with hips, thighs and asses. how else to explain the fact that, even if i did want to spend $59.99 on a pair of khaki pants, i could not find any that would fit my ass? this is because there is more than a one-inch differential between my waist and hip measurements. which, apparently, is unacceptable to the borg.

wait, br…let me be fair: i cannot find a pair of pants in your stores. i can, however, find them on your website.

this vexes me.

were i the type to get bent out of pear-shape about such things, it might seem as though you are happy to take the money of girls who have hips, thighs and asses by selling them pants on your website…just not happy to have us come into your stores where people could see us. perhaps the idea that women with big asses wear your pants might take some of the sheen (metallics are huge for fall!) off your brand identity. or maybe the fear is that, were they to actually commingle with the size 2 women who run free in your stores whilst wearing vanilla perfumes, women-of-ass might confuse the vanilla-scented waifs for vanilla-scented wafers and eat one, thereby causing a public relations nightmare.

but, and this comes as a surprise to absolutely no one i am sure, i have digressed.

and that is an understatement.

i was talking about your lovely, snowy holiday ad campaign. it involves some sort of holiday story about true love and fate and how neither will ever find you if you’re not wearing cashmere from banana republic.

the ad is titled chapter iii: the lost mitten. and i see this caption, and i glance at the ad, and lo, there, in the lovely snow is an orange cashmere…glove.

i stared for a good long while at this ad, br. i even brought the magazine up close to my face, as though i was an 80-year-old woman. but there was no denying it: it was not a mitten.

and since there seems to be some sort of confusion over at your place, let me break it down for you: you can tell by the way it has finger holes. that’s the part that makes it not be a mitten. and, instead, makes it be a glove.

out of morbid curiosity, i visited your website to see if perhaps the error had been corrected in the campaign on your site. there, in the lower-right corner, was the link to your holiday story campaign. and there, on the screen, was a link to chapter iii: the lost mitten.

and then, there on the screen was this [emphasis added, of course]:

what is wrong with you?! do you really think this is a mitten? or that no one will notice that it’s not a mitten?! i have to think that something like 80 people probably had to work on and/or approve this campaign. did no one ever, at any point, say, “hey, uh…you guys…that’s a glove.” i mean, you use the word “mitten,” approximately 50 times in this thing, and every single time, my brain is screaming “for the love of god, it is not a mitten! it is a glove! a glove!”

clearly, this is the same brain trust that thinks girls with sizable asses should not be encouraged to shop in your stores.
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the one without the ferret
a few weeks ago, i was checking my blog-related email when i came across a subject line that intrigued me: writing for the national film challenge.


when i opened the email, i discovered it was from bill coughlan, a fellow blogger/storyteller who i had the pleasure of meeting at fray day two years ago [good lord, has it really been that long already?!]. as it turns out, bill is more than just a blogger/storyteller...he’s actually a filmmaker. well, he’s also a husband, a father and a general all-round good guy, but the part that’s most germane to the story at hand is the filmmaker thing.

at any rate, bill helps run a small independent production company, tohubohu productions, and he was writing with an intriguing – and scary – proposition for me: to write the screenplay for tohubohu’s entry into this year’s national film challenge competition.

for those of you who, like me, aren’t familiar with the national film challenge, it’s an incredibly cool concept: filmmaking teams are given just one weekend to completely write, produce, edit, and output a short film. on friday evening of the competition, each team receives an email containing a required prop, a required character, a required line of dialogue and a randomly assigned genre.

bill went on to explain that he would be producing tohubohu’s effort this year, with a local director, nello deblasio, taking the helm. however, they were missing a writer. and, apparently, they were asking me to be said writer.

anticipating my response of “hey, that is so cool, and i’m really flattered, but, i have absolutely no idea how to write a screenplay and rather than go down in flames and take you very nice people with me, i think i’ll pass,” bill made it a point to tell me that it mattered not if i had never written a script, because what really mattered was that i know how to tell a story [and lest you think i’m a wee bit full o’ myself, those were his words]. he encouraged me to think over their invitation, and to take a look at some of their previous work.

i went home and whipped up a pitcher of a rather tasty vodka-laden concoction, and thought about whether i believed in myself enough to take this on. i hadn’t been writing on a regular basis, other than departmental budgets, and felt more than a little rusty. not to mention the fact i haven't written fiction -- or told someone else's story -- since i was probably fourteen. the idea of inventing a completely fictional story was intimidating, to say the least. not to mention inventing it on such a tight timeline.

but, after about six servings of liquid courage, i decided to go for it. after all, what did i have to lose? washington is a good-sized city and if i humiliated myself and/or crashed and burned i could surely avoid seeing bill and nello, right?

when the big night arrived, i showed up at bill’s offices with absolutely no ideas, a healthy case of performance anxiety and two slices of pizza in a container that might as well have been labeled “open in case of it being 3:00 am and you still haven’t come up with any ideas.” believe me when i tell you that famous luigi’s with meatball and jalapeno is a surefire source of inspiration.

seven o’clock arrived and with it, the email containing our assignment. bill read it out loud:

required prop: funnel
required character: tj heinschwartz, rock star
required line of dialogue: “wow...can i touch it?”

and then, our assigned genre: action-adventure

and with that, i almost passed out. action-adventure?! action?! adventure?!
i was doomed. i had secretly hoped that the email would arrive and our assigned genre would be “true stories from julia’s life,” although in my heart i knew the chances were rather slim.

then, a ray of hope.

“this isn’t our team name...i’m going to email them just to be sure this isn’t a mistake. the prop, character and dialogue are the same for everyone, but this might not be our assigned genre.”

thank. god.

a few moments later, bill announced that, indeed, we had received the wrong email, and were now in receipt of our correct genre assignment.

super hero.

words like "frying pan" and "fire" raced through my mind. the only way it could have been worse was if we had been assigned sci-fi-cowboy-musical.

once we had clarified our assignment, the brainstorming began.

well, sort of.

while bill and nello bounced around idea after idea, i became keenly aware that i was sitting there, completely mute. there were only three thoughts running through my head:

1. oh my god, i'm not saying anything. any minute, nello is going to lunge across the room and throat-punch bill for this ridiculous notion of having me be a "screenwriter."

2. next time they leave the room, i'm taking my emergency pizza and bolting.

3. i hope we can incorporate a ferret in this somehow. i think ferrets are hilarious.

then, nello threw out an idea that jolted me out of my ferret-laden catatonia. and, with that, i started typing.

i guess i had never given much thought to my "process" as a writer. and now i realize that’s because i don’t have one. i just sit down and start typing. that's pretty much my process. i sit down, i type a story, and i rarely make edits. in retrospect, i see now that this isn’t terribly conducive to the collaborative creative process.

through the course of the evening, i quickly moved from one end of the spectrum [sitting totally mute clutching a legal pad and pen] to the other [blurting out something akin to “absolutely not” in response to a proposed modification]. and i realized that my writing has always been my own, and is usually something that is part of my life. so i think i tend to feel protective of my stories...because my stories have always been pieces of me [ohmygod, it's just like that jewel album!]. the idea that the finished movie could – and would – deviate from my script, or that due to practical reasons – or creative ones – scenes wouldn’t be shot the way i had written them was a learning experience for me. and not just about writing.

the bottom line is that, after my initial wave of nausea passed, this was a terrific challenge for me, and a whole lot of fun. not to mention that seeing my words formatted as a screenplay was an unexpected rush that made me realize how much i have missed writing.

and, perhaps most importantly, i learned that a movie can be funny without a ferret.

and now i present to you tohubohu productions’ entry into this year’s national film challenge competition: homemade hero.
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a cautionary tale, the lesson of which is: do not try to be cute...and also, look in the mirror before you go to work
so today, i thought i would be all hipster cool and "dress up" for halloween but not really dress up for halloween. to-wit: i wore a pair of black trousers, a white cotton button up shirt, and over that an orange t-shirt with the word "spooky" in black old english-style letters [yes, it's the $5 one from target. and no, i couldn't find one that said "scary," although that would have certainly been more appropriate].

to top off my tragically hip look, i pulled on my black leather boots and tossed on my black leather jacket.

oh yeah. totally hot. well, at least slightly hotter than a sequined halloween sweater with black cats on it.

everyone on the metro and around the office seemed to be checking out my supercool shirt.

and it wasn't until about, oh, three minutes ago that i realized that, with my super stylish black leather jacket on, all you can see is "poo."

that's right.


poo.right there in the middle of my chest. all day long.

allow myself to introduce myself...wile e. coyote...supergenius.

[ed. note: yes, i am not dead. sorry 'bout that. work. exhaustion. clinical depression. yada yada. i appreciate everyone's emails and comments, and am glad to be back.]
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forgetting is so long
lately i've been doing a lot of thinking about forgiveness. about the old saying "forgive and forget." i've always been someone who says, "i can forgive, but i can't forget." i guess i meant that sincerely. yes, i can hold a grudge, but i can -- and have -- forgiven many trespasses in my time.

i always explained my reluctance to forget as being self-preservation. in line with the old "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" sort of thing. i guess my theory was that, by remembering, i would somehow protect myself from being hurt again in the future by a similar situation, or by the same person.

but i'm starting to think that forgiving without forgetting isn't really forgiving at all. you never really let it go. it's always there, just below the surface, whispering in your ear, waiting...waiting.
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home again, home again
so,i actually made it back from spain. despite the best efforts of every employee of every airline that flies into, or out of, spain.

the spanish apparently have adopted the festival seating approach to air travel. you remember festival seating, don't you? oh, come on...i'm not that much older than you. or maybe i am. anyway, festival seating...there's a concert in a venue with about 500 seats. so, the promoters sell 3000 tickets and then it's first come, first serve. so, everyone camps out for a day or two, and then there's a stampede, and then chaos followed by wailing and gnashing of teeth.

yeah. it's like that.

other notes from spain:

- they like the jamon in espana. i mean, seriously, they really like the ham.
i stood in front of a menu one afternoon at lunch pondering the following choices:

- iberian ham sandwich
- serrano ham sandwich
- york ham sandwich

i could go on. really. there is just a tremendous amount of ham going on in spain. i didn't even know there were that many kinds of ham in existence, really. i felt so...sheltered. i visited a grocery store -- whenever i travel, i always like to visit a grocery store and a drug store...i find the coolest stuff there -- and there was, seriously, an entire ham aisle. i was so stunned that i totally forgot to take a photo. rats.

- if you rent a car and the bottom falls off of it, use one of the blue emergency phones along the highway. they are surprisingly responsive when you call. and they only seem slightly disbelieving when you tell them you really, honestly, did not do anything...the bottom just fell off the car. really.

- if you are a chick and you go to spain without a peasant skirt and a pair of espadrilles, you're cruising for a sound mocking.

- if you are a dude and you go to spain, plan to walk with your hands behind your back.

- if you're driving along and you see the famous windmills of la mancha, and you think, "oh, that looks really easy to get to, i'll just hop off the highway, run over there and take a few photos, then get right back on the highway and be on my way,"...you are wrong, my friend. so, so wrong.

- it's really really windy on the plains of la mancha...this is good to know in case you're wearing a really light floaty skirt and a thong. we shall speak no more of this.

- the sangria, and the wine, and the gazpacho, and the olives, and the paella [and the fideua -- definitely the fideua], and the ham...it's all as good as you imagine it will be. all of it.

madrid is a city of the night. the sun didn't seem to set until ten o'clock most nights, and the city's streets were packed with tourists and locals, all just beginning their adventures as the sky turned a seemingly impossible blue. most nights i didn't go back to my hotel until two or three in the morning...and the streets were crowded on my way. it's easy to lose your sense of time there, what with the beautiful and plentiful light and the streets thronged with people. you can't imagine that the park -- or the restaurant, or the sidewalk -- is filled with people at midnight. but it is. people playing guitar. people talking. people strolling. people skateboarding.

i managed to see quite a bit of the country during my visit. i fell in love with the light on the golden fields along the highway stretching toward the great walls of avila. i drove past fields of sunflowers, hillsides covered with olive trees, and pastures filled with glistening black bulls. i walked the streets of cordoba, absolutely mesmerized by the beauty of la mezquita. i let the name "salamanca" trip off my tongue repeatedly, so intrigued by the sound of it that i felt compelled to go see it for myself...and found it to be a lush and intricately beautiful city. i climbed the narrow stairs of its cathedral and looked out across the terra cotta rooftops and thought i could stay there forever.

or at least until i could finally make a flight home.
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i remain in spain mainly due to planes
dear airlines:
i know many of you are having financial problems. some of you are even in bankruptcy (this means you, us airways).

here are a few insights from a frequent traveler that might shed some light on things:

1. you are, generally, rude & not helpful. you treat me with contempt when i ask you questions...and they are not even stupid questions.

2. overselling my flight by about 800 seats does not help anyone. especially when you run exactly one flight per day from spain to the united states.

3. you are, and forgive me if i mentioned this already, generlly rude and not a all helpful.

4. talking about me in spanish right in front of me is unwise. i actually am not an "ignorant american" looking for special treatment. i took high school spanish, you know.

5. not that this really helps you with your financial woes, but i am beginning to not like you very much. perhaps if you stop treating me like cattle and more like a paying customer i might consider flying with you again. assuming, of course, i actually ever fly with you...given the whole oversold by 800 thing.

hatefully yours,

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holy guacamole
well, the move is over. and, surprisingly [to me anyway] it was incredibly successful. difficult. painful. infernally hot. but successful.

there are lots of amusing stories i could tell you about the move. things you learn about people when you move their stuff. things that defy all logic and reason and make you want to choke the life out of people who have boxes higher on the org chart than you do. things you learn about your coworkers when you're working side by side at three o'clock in the morning in the july heat in the basement of a building in which the air conditioning was turned off at five o'clock that evening.

but, learning a valuable lesson from those bloggers before me who have gone to the unemployment office after sharing such wildly amusing anecdotes, i shall keep those to myself.


i will only say this: at approximately four-thirty on the morning of july 3rd, after attempting to rehydrate my body with a rather substantial amount of vodka, i did undertake a thorough testing of the new state-of-the-art a/v system in our high-tech conference rooms by hooking up my ipod to the speaker system and performing a surprisingly coherent rendition of don mclean's classic american pie. i say it was surprisingly coherent based solely on the reports of others who heard and saw the performance, including a significant portion of the moving company's employees who came and sat in the conference room to, uh, show their support for my efforts.

at their request, i did an encore. the kc and the sunshine hit, boogie shoes.

i had deluded myself into believing that when tuesday morning came and everyone got to work, the worst of the move would be over for me. but, these weeks after the move have just as hectic, and have felt even more so due to the fact that i was expecting a break.

i had hoped to pick back up with this blog, and with my writing in general. spend some time revamping the site -- a project which is woefully overdue. reorganize my ipod and set up some new playlists, including some of the great song recommendations you guys sent me. read the new harry potter. catch up on my summer moviegoing. but, honestly, i haven't done any of those things. and, in a related story: i look like a zombie...a zombie in desperate need of a haircut, some highlights, and a good undereye cream.

so, gentle readers, i am now doing what i typically do in these situations: getting on a plane.

this time? sunny spain. madrid to be precise. i was leaning toward barcelona, but the flights were just too squirrely, so it's off to madrid. it's a quick trip, and i'll be back on thursday to report all there is to report. photos to follow, surely.
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o blog, my blog
i feel like that whole scene in dead poets' society when those uptight preppy pussies betray their teacher, then they feel all remorseful and get up on their desks and do that whole "o captain, my captain" thing to try and make it right.

of course the uptight preppy pussies weren't working 16 hours a day, so maybe i'm not like them so much.

my office is moving. that sounds like a really simple and straightforward thing. a thing that shouldn't fundamentally alter my life. and, yet....

see, if you start to think about it, you start to see what a huge deal it really is. think about the last time you moved. all the stuff you had. stuff that you probably didn't need to move, but you moved it anyway. or maybe you did the right thing and you went through all your stuff and weeded out things like...well, i don't know, i keep lots of things, but maybe you don't. maybe you threw out your collection of "do not disturb" signs you'd pilfered from hotels around the world. or maybe you threw out the collection of clever cards you've bought over the years just to have on hand to send to your wittiest friends only to never be able to find them when such an occasion arises. or all those extra packets of duck sauce.


we're a law firm. and that means paper. lots and lots of paper. so we're taking all our paper and moving.

a block away.

that's right. a block.

and at first blush, that might seem great. you might be thinking "oh, it's only a block away." but then you realize it doesn't matter: one block or montana, you still have to pack everything up. everything. it's not like you're going to do a human chain across connecticut avenue and everyone just pass boxes and plants from hand to hand to move the stuff.

so, we're moving.

and since we're moving and getting new offices with new carpet and new chairs, they thought "hey, we should get a bunch of other new stuff so no one will know where anything is and no one will know how anything works! yeah!"

so...new offices...new copiers, new scanners, new cost-recovery terminals and, perhaps most terrifying: new phones.

it sounds simple. about as simple as "we're moving, but it's only a block away."

they're cisco phones. which is, you know, cool. because those are the same phones they use on alias and 24. which obviously means they're cool. plus, that means you can now say things like they say on those shows. things like "let's call mark using the cisco video conferencing system!" or "i'll transfer that call to you using the cisco call attendant software!" those are seriously the things they said on 24 this year. i saw more of the cisco logo on that show than i saw of kiefer sutherland's snarling lip. and that's sayin' something. all i know is somebody at cisco has a master's degree in product placement.

so, the phones are cool. but they're slightly more complex than our current phone system. which is circa 1984. really. our current phones are so craptacular they almost defy description. but i'll give it a shot.

if you want to call me from outside our firm, you call my "external" number. something like 202.123.4567. but if you want to call me from inside the firm, you dial my "internal extension." which is totally, utterly, and completely unrelated to my external number.

then, if you call my internal extension, it just rings. and rings. forever. you never get voicemail. no. if you want to leave me voicemail, you have to hang up and then dial my totally, utterly and completely unrelated external number. then you will get my voicemail.

getting the picture yet?

right. so, then, if you call my internal number and didn't get my voicemail, but wanted to leave me a message of some sort, you press a button and a light comes on my phone. so when i come into my office, there's a red light on my phone. i look at the light. i wonder what it's all about. then, i press it. on my screen, a number appears...it's the mysterious internal number of the person who called me. but not their name. so i look that up. then i decide if i want to call them back. if i do, i press the button again and i call them. then, typically, the following exchange takes place:



"who is this?"

"this is julia."

"what do you want?"

"you left a message light on my phone."

[long pause]

"i don't remember why i called you."

[long pause]

"okay...well...if you think of what it was, just, um...call me."

clearly, these phones are an object lesson in efficiency.

so, you can see we're taking a giant step forward. huge. but, you can't walk before you crawl, so we decided that it would be wise to have phone training. yes, nothing spurs a body to sleep faster than the phrase "phone training."

unless it's the phrase "mandatory two-hour phone training."

of course, the effect can usually be counterbalanced by immediately adding the phrase "free lunch."

so, for the past two weeks, i've been teaching phone training to the tune of three classes a day, two hours each class. then, after i'm finished with that, i'm writing massive quantities of documentation. scintillating stuff like "to answer a call, press the answer button."

god, i've missed my blog.

just last week, i came home after a particularly long day of teaching and sat down to write documentation. after writing what can only be considered the superlative work on accessing a voicemail system from outside the office, i felt tired. i tried to shake it off, frustrated by why i was so tired so early. then i looked at the time: 3:42. am.

so, yeah...definitely missing the blog. and my bed. and contact with human beings in social settings.

the good news is that the end is nigh. we're moving the fourth of july weekend. yes, that's right: i'll go to work on friday and probably won't come home until the end of the day on july 5th. whilst others frolic in the summer sun and set off ill-advised bottle rockets, i'll be installing printers. ah...summer fun.

but, even so, these long and grueling days haven't been completely without entertainment. one of my favorite moments came during one of my secretarial classes. one of the ladies in class was struggling with answering a call using the speakerphone. she kept inadvertently hanging up on the caller. everyone else had gotten their call connected, and it was one of those moments when the whole class is just waiting on a single person to catch up...no one is doing anything but looking at her and waiting.

"okay, so when the call comes in, you can do a couple of things. you can press the answer button, and the call will be on speakerphone."

"uh huh."

"or, you could just press the speakerphone button and the call will be answered."

"uh huh."

"okay, let's try it. here comes the call."

and she promptly pressed the answer button -- which answered the call as promised -- then pressed the speakerphone button -- which promptly disconnected the call.

"okay, let's try that again."

after four attempts, i could feel that i might be losing my cool.

"okay, just press the answer button. okay, now don't do anything else. see? now you have the call."

"uh huh."

and then she hung up on the call.

that was it.

"you just hung up on her!"

she turned and looked at me, arching her eyebrow above her glasses and in a perfectly matter-of-fact tone gave me a perfectly reasonable explanation:

"well, i don't have anything to talk to her about."

you can't argue with that. you just can't.

one up-side to all these late nights: i'm enjoying lots of music. thanks to some generous folks who've sent me mixes and suggestions, i have a bunch of new music -- and some older stuff, too -- that's been keeping me great company these long nights. the playlist varies from night to night, but here are some tracks i've been typing away to:

the denial twist - the white stripes
processed beats - kasabian
this modern love - bloc party [you rock, styro!]
chocolate - snow patrol
i could be happy - altered images [kisses, miguel]
eve, the apple of my eye - bell x1 [still loving this one]
forever young - cameron dezen [and still loving this one, too - thanks so much, chris]
struggle - ringside
back of my hand - gemma hayes [gretchen, you sent me so much stuff, i'm in heaven!]
if i ain't got you - alicia keys
caring is creepy - the shins [thanks to scott and michelle for the mix]
finding out true love is blind - louis xiv
stayin' alive - the bee gees [courtesy of the fantastical ms. snowy]
safety dance - men without hats [like i would forget you, jen!]
please come to boston - dave loggins [what? i love that song. shut up.]
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this post is one part martha stewart and one part dave barry! which is to say, it includes a recipe and an amusing anecdote about a kid
last weekend, i went home to attend my niece's first dance recital.

for those of you who have never experienced the endurance test that is the dance recital, let me recap:

1. a bunch of three-year olds, none of whom are related to you, prance around in a way that has no relation to "dance" for about an hour and a half to the strains of such classics as what i like about you from the shrek 2 soundtrack and i hope you dance by lee ann womack. of course, this being west virginia, there was also a number involving boot scootin' boogie, during which time the entire three rows in front of me sang out loud with every word, causing me to weep softly in my seat.

2. your niece appears onstage for approximately three minutes, during which time you observe none of the non-dance-related prancing because you're trying to take pictures. and because you're still a little weepy from that boot scootin' boogie thing.

3. you go eat.

the next day, i told my niece i was really proud of her and very happy that she had invited me to come and watch her dance.

"i like star wars."

"oh. you do? well, your mom liked star wars, too. who is your favorite? my favorite is chewbacca. i love the wookies."

"i like them all. except the bad guy."

"the bad guy?"

"yeah. darth elevator."

then we ate grilled avacados, which, if you've never had grilled avocados, you totally should because they'll rock your face right off. which is a good way to welcome summer...with your face rocked off and a grilled avocado in front of you. anyway, enjoy.

you'll need:
-4 ripe avocados
-extra virgin olive oil
-really good balsamic vinegar [a general note: if you invest in really good balsamic vinegar, your life will be a much better and happier place. really. really high quality balsamic vinegar is a transformative elixir that makes everything from strawberries to lettuce to chicken to, well, avocados, taste like ambrosia from on high.]
-parmesan cheese [another general note: stop using that crap in the plastic jar. it's not parmesan cheese. it's crap. buy a hunk of quality cheese and a grater. it's not quite the elixir that quality balsamic is, but it's damn near close.]

do this:
- peel, pit and halve the avocados
- brush them with a little extra-virgin olive oil and some of the balsamic vinegar
- preheat the grill to medium heat
- put the avacodos face down on a hot open grill for about a minute; turn and cook for another minute or so [although i like to cook them a little longer; until they get the dark grill marks on them and the balsamic starts to carmelize just a touch...mmmmm]
- remove from the grill and shave parmesan over them while they're still warm

i also like to saute or grill some red onion and some grape tomatoes to have with these. pour yourself a nice glass of pinot grigio or riesling, and it's instant summer.
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it's like that bread song says: "if a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't i paint...that guy"
recently, i've gotten back into the lapsed habit of taking photos all the time. for a while, i had that whole self-conscious thing, where i would see something that caught my eye -- maybe a person, maybe a puddle, maybe just a bright green door -- and i would feel self-conscious about stopping to snap a photo.

then i thought about all the neat photos i was missing, and how i really wished i had taken a lot of those pictures, and i got over myself.

so, here's just a sampling of a few photos i've taken recently. of guys.

clearly, my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

so, in an effort to try and ease myself back into traveling, i went to new orleans a couple of weeks ago. while i was there, i met...this guy. he plays a mean guitar, and, clearly, he is a bad ass. he totally got into posing for me, and i was able to snap several shots of him, but, for some reason, i really liked this one. whenever i meet someone like...this guy...i always wonder what his average daily take is. like, are you making ten bucks a day? fifty? two hundred?

which takes me to this guy:

this, apparently, is naked cowboy. i snapped this shot of him -- and a friend -- as he was, um..."working" in the middle of times square while i was in new york on business this week.

i am fascinated by naked cowboy.

especially by the fact that, um...he's not actually naked.

anyway, i was so fascinated that i was very tempted to try and engage him in conversation. sadly, that creepy old dude would not move away from naked cowboy. naked cowboy must be something of a celebrity, and a times square regular, because the souvenir shops around times square are selling knock-offs of the naked cowboy tighty whiteys. but let's be honest: it's the handwritten scrawl across the ass that makes naked cowboy's underwears so special, and no latex iron-on transfer rip-off is quite the same.

rock on, naked cowboy. rock on.

last, but ohmygod not least, would be this guy:

uh-huh, that's right, it's ron "the sexiest eyebrows alive" livingston. you know...that guy...the one from office space. and swingers. and band of brothers. and, um...body shots. or you might know him from his portrayal of berger -- the guy who broke up with carrie via post-it note on sex and the city.

i just know him as "my boyfriend ron livingston."

last week, i was walking past the johnston & murphy store near my office and there's this sign saying ron livingston will making an appearance at the store. and i stopped dead in my tracks, pulled out my trusty treo 650, and put it on my calendar as a high priority appointment.

there were drinks, and snacks and, i don't know if i mentioned this or not, but also: my boyfriend ron livingston was there.

he signed my office space dvd, let me take several pictures, and actually hung out and chatted for about about fifteen minutes or so. he actually said things like, "is everyone in dc from somewhere else? it seems a lot like la in that regard."

of course, that's when i screeched, "ohmygod, you're so normal! i love you!" and started making out with his eyebrows.

then, his handler came over and said, "mr. livingston? there are some people over here who would like to meet you."

and then i killed his handler.

anyway, for those of you who were wondering: he's actually even hotter in person, he's incredibly nice, and looks great in a suit.

and he's mine. all mine.
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reports of my demise are greatly somewhat slightly exaggerated
this is a little like when you told someone you were going to come to their big fancy shindig, or important-life-event-type thing and then you don’t because something comes up, and you forget to call and tell them that something came up and then the next thing you know it's been two months and you're standing in the toilet paper aisle at target and run into them and it seems sort of awkward to say "oh yeah, i totally forgot to call you and tell you that i couldn't make it to your wedding!"

okay, that analogy is really lame.

forget the analogies, let’s just do it this way: i was away, and i should have posted something saying “i’m not dead. really!” but i just didn’t and i kept thinking "i'll do it tomorrow," and then the next thing i knew it had been a really long time since i posted anything.

during the entire time i've been away, i didn’t log into blogger once. or hit my site. not once. or log into hotmail. not once

so, it wasn’t until a friend called me and said “did you know you have about 160 comments?” that i realized that things had sort of moved beyond "why don't you post something?!" and into "i think she might have died!" territory.

so, i’m sorry about the worry. by way of explanation, i will tell you a little bit about why i’ve been away.

but only a little bit.

as i've told other people before, blogs are like peep shows. or, at least this one is. you drop your quarter in the slot, and the screen slides up and you get to peek inside my life for a little bit. then, the screen slides back down. next time the screen comes up, there might be a different song playing. maybe even a costume change. point is, you don’t get to see everything at the peep show.

so, screen up:

after i came back from asia, i got really really sick. the kind of sick where the doctor says "you'll probably make a full recovery." and then you're like "great! wait...did you say 'probably'? what if i don't? i mean, what are the other options?" and the doctor says, "well, you could go blind. or deaf. or suffer brain damage. or die. but you will probably make a full recovery."

and i will tell you that there were a few days when the whole "death" option seemed really appealing. the whole thing was more than a bit scary, and generally craptastic. but it does help you put things in perspective, and one of those perspective adjustments was that, sometimes, life trumps blog.

i am feeling better now, although still not 100%.

and, no, it wasn’t asian bird flu.

and, screen down.

i was overwhelmed when i finally logged in to my email account, and to the comments page. you guys are the best. your concern was touching [if a bit guilt-inducing], and i got a hearty chuckle out of several of the jokes...and more than a few of the conspiracy theories [you think if it had been a guy i wouldn't have posted it from the rafters?! come on!].

i’m making my way through the emails, and will respond to everyone who wrote. i really do appreciate everyone’s thoughfulness. it was humbling to realize that so many people were paying attention to my whereabouts!

in addition to the whole perspective-adjustment-thing, another interesting result of this hiatus was that i actually gave some thought to the scenario in which i did die. i mean, if i died, how would you guys know? what would happen to my blog? people would just keep coming back day after day, then they would start leaving nasty comments like “i hate you. you brag about stupid stuff all the time. i am finished with you.”

no one wants that.


and, so, you will be pleased to know that i have chosen an official blogexecutor [note: edit from the earlier "blogecutrix" because cw is not a girl. even though "blogecutrix" is much catchier and much funnier to say. and i won't even take a cheap shot about him "not" being a girl. just leaving that alone. very proud of myself.] in case i have some sort of relapse and do actually die. or, you know, if i die from something totally unrelated to my recent illness. i mean, we haven’t written up the formal agreement, but i’m sure it will not only cover illness-related death, but also death from accidents or acts of god. trust me, it will cover all the death bases. anyway, my blogexecutor has agreed to log in and tell you guys that i am actually dead, so no one will have to wonder. i’ll also do an appropriate logo for use at that time. and i’m sure he’ll probably have a nice tribute post and say reasonably nice things about me.

on second thought, since it’s cw, i probably better make that last part an explicit clause in the written agreement.

thanks to everyone, and it’s good to be back!
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so, after landing in bangkok, i say to myself, "hmmm...i could make that flight to denpasar."

so, bali it was.

and then bangkok for two days.

bali is a place i had always wanted to visit. i remember seeing it on a national geographic special when i was young and thinking it was the most exotic and faraway place in the world. and it is.

it's beautiful and the people are incredible. a sense of peace and mysticism pervades the island. the beaches are beautiful, but going up into the mountains to see the lakes was even more amazing than i had hoped.

when i heard the news of the earthquake in sumatra, my heart was heavy. that part of the world has already seen so much heartbreak, i hated to hear that they have suffered yet another blow.

i'm still jetlagged, but i wanted to stop by to let you know that i'm back, share some photos, and encourage you to help in the relief efforts that are now needed in the wake of the earthquake. so...

photos here of bali.

here of bangkok.

and here to do the right thing.

talk soon....
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the first one to leave a comment invoking the phrase "thai one on" gets themselves a big fat ban.
as those of you who have been reading this site for a while know, i have a propsensity to sometimes do the unexpected. especially when coming out of a period when things have been especially stressful or difficult.

apparently, this is one of those times.

so, in keeping in the spirit of my "i don't care if i have a job when i get back" trip to london and rome...and the spirit of my "yes, i have no luggage, but i'm going to the airport to get on a plane going somewhere anyway" trip to atlanta...i now present to you the "i'm mentally and physically exhausted and craving pad kee mao like nobody's business" excursion to...thailand.

so, i'm heading to the airport to hop a flight to thailand shortly. and, as such, i'll be gone from the site until the end of the month.

i say i'm going to thailand, but i'll be honest: there's a very real possibility i might just decide to make it hong kong at the last minute. seriously.

i'll let you know. until then, enjoy the archives, and, as always, thanks for coming by.
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