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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]
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[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]



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


 
2.28.2003  

life is a funny thing
they had wheeled my father out. taken him downstairs to run a seemingly endless list of tests. tests that would tell us whether or not his heart was strong enough to survive the surgery needed to save his life. i gave my mother a reassuring hug and sank down into the chair as they disappeared around the corner. numb. glad they were gone for a while. relieved that i could stop pretending, even for a little while, that i’m not scared. that everything is going to be perfectly fine. that i’m not falling apart.

from the other side of the curtain dividing my father’s hospital room came a voice.

“so, this fella’s goin’ to get on a plane. and he’s not wearin’ anything but a raincoat and some shoes.”

i sat quietly.

“so, the stewardess at the gate there, she says, ‘sir, i need to see your ticket.’ and this fella just opens up his raincoat, and he’s just standin’ there smilin’ from ear to ear. real proud of himself.”

another pause.

this shouldn’t be happening. wouldn’t be happening if the cardiac icu ward wasn’t full. if a private room had been available.

i picked up the stack of booklets on my father’s tray table.

“so, the lady there, she just looks him up and down. then, she just looks right at this fella and says, ’sir, i said i needed to see your ticket...not your stub.’”

i took my jacket off and opened the first booklet.

a head appeared at the edge of the curtain.

“that didn’t offend you, did it, young lady? i surely didn’t mean no offense.”

“no, sir, i wasn’t offended.”

he came out and sat down in the guest chair beside me. his pale legs spindly as they made their way from the hem of the now-familiar hospital gown down to the hospital-issued blue booties. his silver hair was mussed and he wore the same eyeglasses my grandfather had worn -- the same eyeglasses every man who worked at union carbide in the 1950s wore.

“well, then, let’s have us a chat. name’s norman,” he said as he extended his hand. overlooking the iv shunt, the medical tape and bandages and the dark spots of age, i could see he had long, graceful fingers.

“nice to meet you.”

“now, before we get started, i’ll just go ahead and tell ya right off that i’m open to questions. so, don’t be shy.”

“that’s good to know, norman. thank you.”

“i’m on my second pacemaker. not why i’m here this time, though.”

as he began talking, i realized that i wanted nothing more than for him to stop. i ran my hands over the stack of books in my lap.

after the stroke

your diabetes and you

living with congestive heart failure

what is atrial fibrillation?


i had made it as far as page three of the first book before norman joined me.

we had learned that my father’s stroke was the tip of the iceberg. the least of his problems. and now i needed to understand what we were up against. there were terms i needed to learn. diet restrictions. guidelines. assuming, of course, that he would survive. all of this lying on my lap. all under my fingertips. all just waiting. but, now, here was norman. talking and talking.

maybe if i just kept reading. politely nodding. muttering “uh-huh” at the appropriate pauses. maybe he’d get the hint.

“so, i knowed there was a shine still up that holler. but there was also mighty good squirrel huntin’ up thata way, too. so, i reckoned i’d just go on up there.”

“uh-huh”

“i’s only ‘bout fifteen at the time. boy that age didn’t really know how serious them boys’d be ‘bout protecting that still.”

“right.”

“so, there i go, just pretty as a picture, walkin’ right on up that holler.”

“uh-huh.”

“next thing you know, i’m lookin’ down the barrel of a shotgun!”

“wow.”

“and this fella looks me over and says, ‘i reckon you’d be up this way a’lookin’ for the milkin’ cow?’ and i’m scared to death. and i finally say, ‘yessir, i reckon i am.’ and he says, ‘well that cow went right back down the holler the way you come in. reckon you oughta do the same.’”

“that’s something.”

“say, you know how to play setback?”

“i’m sorry?”

“setback. you had a deck of cards, you and me could play setback. used to play it in my navy days.”

“i'm afraid i don’t know that one.”

we continued this way for about twenty minutes.

“so, you got any brothers and sisters?”

“one younger sister.”

“two of you girls, huh. i got four kids of my own. five, really. i raised my granddaughter, too. she took my name. that’s somethin’ else, wouldn’t you say? took my name. yep, i raised her, too, so i reckon that counts as five.”

i looked up. i saw my father’s empty bed surrounded by cards and flowers and balloons. pictures of my niece were on his bedside table.

norman’s side of the room was empty.

i thought about my dad. how strong he is. how stoic. and then i thought about how small he looked that morning as they wheeled him out the door. how scared. and how, even with all of his flowers and balloons, how alone he seemed. the way he had tears in his eyes as he told me he loved me. how happy he was to have me here.

“she’s a paralegal now, my granddaughter. lives down in north carolina.”

i thought about how scared norman must be. how alone.

i closed the book on my lap.

“what’s her name?”

he smiled at me.

“i was wonderin’ if you’d forgot that i was open to questions.”

i laughed.

“her name’s shauna. she makes almost thirty thousand dollars a year. can you imagine that? in my days at carbide i don’t think i ever made that much. she’s done real well for herself. she’s finishing up here degree from marshall. i reckon she might just be a lawyer herself.”

“you must be very proud of her.”

“now, i’m waitin’ for you to ask me. aren’t you gonna ask me how it is that she’s gonna get her degree from marshall while she’s livin’ in north carolina? it’s all computers! you ever heard of such a thing? i’ve lived an awful long time and think i might just have seen it all now. aren’t you gonna ask me how old i am?”

“i wasn’t sure if you’d think it was rude.”

“i’m 84. 84 years old. that’s a lot of life. a lot of living. more than a good number of folks get to live.”

“i imagine so.”

“man my age...you see a lot of things. learn a lot. i reckon there might be two or three things i don’t know something about. but that’d probably be just about it.”

“well, that’s pretty impressive.”

“’course one of them two or three things is women. never quite figured that one out.“

he sighed.

“life just doesn’t always go the way you want it to. life is a funny thing.”

he told me about his years as an “instrument man” at carbide. how he remembered when they came up with transistors and machinery that had taken up entire rooms now fit on a single table top.

i told him about my first transistor radio. it was bright blue and i used to listen to mystery theater on wchs am 58 radio every night under the covers after i was supposed to be asleep.

we took turns telling stories until we finally came to a lull in our conversation.

“i sure wish we had some cards. you sure you don’t know how to play setback? i learned that one in the navy. used to play it for hour after hour. won me a bit of money, playing setback. lost a good bit, too, i reckon. truth is, i’m not sure i remember how to play it anymore. that’s something, isn’t it? life is just a funny thing sometimes.”

“well, what about rummy?”

“how’s that?”

“you know how to play rummy?”

“sure do.”

“well, then, that’s what we’ll play tomorrow.”

“for money?”

“are you hustlin’ me, norman?”

“oh, now, you think i’d do that to a pretty lady like you?”

“well, i think you might.”

“well, we’ll just play nickels and dimes.”

and with that he got up.

“leaving me, are you?’

“gotta go round up my nickels and dimes!”

that night, they transferred my father to a private room. the next day, i stopped in the hospital gift shop and bought a deck of cards. when i walked into room 201, the curtain was drawn back and both beds were empty.

“excuse me, has he been moved to a private room?”

“let’s see...bed 2...no. he coded this morning. you family?”

i turned the deck of cards over and over in my hands. i handed them to the nurse.

“no. just a friend.”

life is just a funny thing sometimes.

note: i'd like to thank all of you who have taken time to write emails, comments and even supportive thoughts on your own sites. at a time like this, it is immeasurably comforting to feel not alone. and you have all made me feel not alone. thank you very, very much, from the bottom of my heart.

my father's condition is still touch-and-go. he is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning, and we will know more once the procedure is completed. thanks again for all of your kind thoughts.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.25.2003  

you know how they always say..
don't say "it can't get worse"?

'cause then it gets worse.

well.

it's worse.

i received word tonight that my father has suffered a stroke.

i'm on the first plane out in the morning.

so...i'll have to get back to you with that promised hilarity.

i find writing to be good therapy, so i will be posting while i'm away. but i'm afraid it will be rather sporadic.

i'm looking for a break, folks. if you see one wandering around aimlessly, send it my way.

thanks for stopping by, and thanks for all your kind emails checking in on me.

i appreciate it more than i can really say right now.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

 

we interrupt our regularly scheduled hilarity to bring you this message
can't write today.

my heart hurts.

if i posted today it would just be maudlin and weepy.

or maybe vitriolic and nasty.

so, i'll be back tomorrow. promise. hope you will be, too.

in the meantime, here's an amusing blast from the past...

[the mojo is strong in this one...but he could use a little hair product]

ps - i've said it before, and i'll say it again: i. hate. haloscan. give me back my comments, you fuckwad bastards!

okay...i'd say that clearly supports the "if i posted it would be vitriolic and nasty" position. best to take a breather.

pps - one more reason not to post: kerry has already said everything. read her posts for friday through today. somehow, she's managed to sum up everything i'm feeling right now. the moments of blinding anger. the really really painful moments of trying to understand. the emptiness of losing your best friend, who you also happen to love passionately. especially when you're at a time of uncertainty in your life. anyway, no need for me to rehash. it's all too sad. i'm too sad.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.24.2003  

it's just your usual monday morning round-up of random stuff i thought about over the weekend. exciting, eh?
while it might have appeared to a casual third-party observer that i was simply shoving reese’s cups in my piehole, i’ll have you know that it was actually done in the name of science.

i can now, officially, without question, unequivocally state the following:

the little tiny reese’s cups just don’t taste as good as the big ones. nor do they taste anywhere close to as good as the reese’s peanut butter eggs.

why?

no idea.

more research is clearly warranted.

---

the front of the latest issue of gq magazine features a pictures of jennifer garner on a harley. but that’s not what caught my attention. no. it was this:

is dmx the new tom cruise?

why, yes, yes, i think dmx is the new tom cruise! i don’t know why i didn’t see the similarities before. i mean, both have been arrested for…well, for lots of stuff. right? and, both have been in movies with steven seagal. right? both vied for the guest-rapper spot on that limp bizkit rollin’-rollin’-rollin’ track. and both are black. and, although most people don’t know this, both are really named earl simmons.

if it had been a snake, it would have bitten me in the ass.

---

sometimes, when you’re getting a bagel in the morning, and you’re standing there and you’re waiting on your order to come up, sometimes you might feel uncomfortable just standing there without talking to the kid behind the counter. if that happens to you, you might think it would be kind of funny to say, “so…do you get a lot of wiseguys who come in here and say, ‘i see bread people?’”

but, you’d be wrong.

because the kid will just look at you and say, “i just started last week, so i don’t know.”

---

i am baffled by how a perfectly sane, completely hygienic, reasonably intelligent, grown-ass woman would leave a pizza out on the counter all night and then get up the next morning and eat it right out of the box.

sure, this was commonplace behavior in college. but, we were young. we were invincible. we didn’t fear things like botulism. or even a nasty case of food poisoning.

i mean, would i leave pork chops out on the counter all night and then get up and eat them the next morning? hell, i’m careful these days about eating any mayonnaise-based salad that’s been sitting outside for more than an hour at a summer bbq. so, what is it about pizza that is so magical as to make me act as though it is exempt from the basic laws of food handling and safety?
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.21.2003  

you kiss your grandchildren with that mouth?
several years ago, i was working for a training company that taught businesspeople how to use computers. although the job was exhausting, it had its really good points. i got to learn everything there was to know about desktop applications. i even got to learn how to build and program databases.

the real variable in the job was the people. even if you taught the same class every day for a week, it was never the same thing twice because the people were different. each group had its own personality. sometimes that was great. other days…not so much.

a large company in our area had just given all of its employees desktop internet access. they contacted us to provide basic internet training to their employees.

dude, it was, like 1997. before aol took over the world. before everyone and their fourteen-year-old sister had a blog. people had no idea what the hell the internet was, or what the hell you were supposed to do with it.

at any rate, i had taught several sessions, and everything had gone pretty well. people were amazed by the internet. and, of course, that was all because of me. after one particularly good class, my manager called me into her office.

“the client has asked that you teach another one of these classes. it’s a special session.”

“what do you mean ‘a special session’?”

“well…they have a group of employees who are…older. and they think they might have a particularly hard time grasping the concepts. they asked if you would teach the session.”

“okay. not a problem.”

i arrived on the day of the class to find twelve old men milling around the room.

“good morning, gentlemen!”

they seemed pleasant enough. sweet, really. it was like this room full of paw-paws who were nice and cuddly. they were even self-effacing, which is great.

they were dazzled by the history of the internet:

“so, the technology that resulted in the internet as we know it today is the result of government research that began in the early 70s!”

they were captivated by my depth of knowledge in the realm of acronyms:

“so, when we say the site’s ‘address,’ we’re talking about this text that begins with http – which, of course, stands for hypertext transfer protocol…”

they heartily appreciated my extensive lesson on the fine art of crafting effective searches:

“so, by placing ‘white house’ in quotes, we’re telling the search tool to find the phrase ‘white house.’ without the quotes, the search will just look for sites that have both words present – not necessarily side-by-side.”

we even did an internet scavenger hunt, which went over like gangbusters.

really.

it did.

okay, maybe they were just being nice.

at any rate, we were having such a great time. it was one of those days when you really enjoy being a trainer. when you feel like you’re really connecting with your students. like you’re making a difference, really giving them useful skills.

as the close came to an end, i wanted to let them know how much i appreciated them. it’s not often that you have a class so pleasant, so easygoing, and i wanted to be sure to thank them.

“i just wanted to tell you how enjoyable it has been to spend the day with you, today. honestly, in this job, some days are tough. sometimes you have not-so-nice people to deal with, but you have been an absolute joy. it’s been my privilege to have such a pleasant group of honest-to-goodness gentlemen to work with today, and i hope you’ve found the class helpful!”

there was silence in the room.

a few of the men were looking around at one another.

as i stood in the front of the classroom, i began shifting nervously.

two of the men in the back row huddled together, talking in low tones. then, another got up from his seat and joined in their hushed discussion.

i still stood at the front of the room, growing more uncomfortable by the minute.

“um…gentlemen? is there something wrong?” i finally asked.

there was no response.

i could feel the blood rising in my face.

what in the world could be going on? had i said something to offend them? we’d had such a great rapport all day, i simply couldn’t imagine what had happened.

“gentlemen, is there something wrong?”

the three men finished their discussion.

one of them broke the silence.

“well,” he began, “we were kind of wondering.”

“about?”

“well, we’re interested in learning where the naked women pictures are.”

“excuse me?”

another one, in the front row, chimed in.

“yeah, i hear there’s lots of pictures of naked women on that internet, and we haven’t talked about how to find those.”

“um…”

now another one in the back row was joining the pack.

“yeah, if i wanted to find pictures of naked women, you know, young ones, like you, maybe even find some hookers, where do i look?”

“i think we’re done here.”
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2.20.2003  

franzen comes alive
it was autumn then. early october, as i recall. i was pretending to be sick one day so i wouldn’t have to go to work. because i hated my job even then. more than mere words can express.

it just so happened to be oprah book club day. oprah was touting her next selection as “the great american novel.”

as an aside, i hate that phrase “great american novel.” first of all, why the singular article? can’t there be more than one? and why do we have to slap a nationality on it? are you saying there’s a “great canadian novel”? a “great finlandian novel”? or whatever the hell the adjective is for a novel from finland. anyway, i hate that phrase. plus, everyone knows the great gatsby is the great american novel anyway. come on, oprah. buy a clue.

so, since i’m looking for a new read, i jot down the title of this new “great american novel” and head on over to the bookstore. the corrections by jonathan franzen.

i hoisted it down off the shelf -- the book was giant-ass. i check out the blurbs on the jacket…don delillo? hmmm. interesting.

and then…well, then i saw it: the jacket photo.

my palms got all sweaty.

he had these pouty little lips. and these artsy little glasses. ooo…and a scruffy unshaven face. it was the whole rumpled-artiste thing. suddenly, i was a 17 year-old liberal arts major all over again.

i practically ran to the check-out counter.

i devoured the book. all five-hundred-and-some pages of it. it is, in my opinion, a classic. a brilliant commentary on society, the state of the family, the religion of consumerism, the general numbing of emotion through widespread use of pharmaceuticals. it just might be, dare i say it – a modern american classic. see how i didn’t say it was the great american novel? clever, eh?

the writing was deep and rich and descriptive. i’m a sucker for descriptive. i laughed out loud, i was touched. it had a great beat, and i could dance to it.

so, imagine my giddiness upon learning that the scruffy-faced author of my literary wet dream was doing a reading at a local bookstore.

that day, i left work early so i could go home and change my pants. see, the pants i wore to work that day were just a little too long. they’re nice pants, and they do nice things for my ass, but they’re a little too long. and they’re wide-leg pants, so the combination of the too-longness and the wide-legness basically caused me to adopt a walk that was similar to that of shaggy of scooby doo fame.

not exactly the chic-sexy-yet-still-literary-chick vibe i was hoping for. hence, the change of pants.

i got to the reading early enough to secure a second row aisle seat. perfect. i mean, front was available, but not advisable. why? too close...don't want to appear overly eager or desperate. after about 10 minutes, another chic-sexy-yet-still-literary 30ish chick sat down beside me. she leaned over and said, "so, i hate to ask this, but...do you think he'll be as cute as the book jacket picture?"

clearly, we were all here for the same reason: the literature.

unfortunately for me, and the woman beside me…and the other fifty chicks who were expecting book-jacket-photo-franzen to walk through the door, somebody over at that place where they took that book jacket photo deserves some sort of photoshop merit award.

i’m pretty sure you could hear a collective “oooh.” i think i may have even uttered, “rats.” i definitely heard a “shit” and a “dang.”

he introduced what he referred to as "an edited version" of one of the sections of the book, which he read from typed pages that had editor's marks on them [details like this are the real reason i sat second row, aisle seat. right.]. it was interesting to be able to notice some subtle differences in the printed version and the version on his scrawled pages.

and, the more he read, the more i listened to his voice, the more i thought that his glamour shot wasn't so far off the mark. there's just something about a smart guy with cute glasses and a scruffy face who writes masterfully....

after the reading, he offered to take a few questions. first up: some guy who was wearing a tweed jacket with suede elbow patches – dude, seriously, why not just stick a freakin' pipe in your mouth while you're at it – asked if franzen liked the character who had been speaking in the section he chose to read. while answering, franzen acknowledged that "these people behave very badly." perfect segue to my question, so up went my hand.

our eyes locked. i thought i caught the hint of a smile. he pointed at me and said, "second row, aisle seat."

oh, that is so me -- second row, aisle seat. i knew that would pay off. it just rolled off his tongue: "second row, aisle seat."

so, i asked, "you mentioned that these people behave very badly…i wondered if, when writing them, were you ever tempted to go back and rewrite some of their behaviors; alter some of their decisions; do anything to soften them a bit...to save them from themselves?"

i thought it was an okay question. i mean, it was an honest question. i was wondering it while reading the book. i have struggled with it myself on occasion when trying to write fiction. you grow attached to these “people” you create…aren’t you tempted to give them a pass every once in a while? cut them a break? make them more likable?

his response: "the answer to that is a resounding 'no.' i consider it a literary accomplishment to be able to write characters who behave badly."

damn, gina. i don’t think we need to use the word “resounding.” unless we’re trying to sound like a dismissive asshole. clearly, i’m a literary moron.

then, some other people asked lameass questions like, “how long did it take you to write the book?” and “do you like to write longhand or on a typewriter?” feeling like my question had been summarily dismissed, i felt compelled to silently scoff at these questions: “hey, retardo montalban, how about you just ask him what his favorite color is. that would be super interesting, i bet. maybe he’d say, ‘the answer to that is a resounding ‘orange.’”

afterward, i waited in a very long line to have him sign my book. you’d think that, given the length of time i had, i’d have thought of something pithy and charming to say. something like, “see how i don’t walk like shaggy from scooby doo in these pants? i saw the way you were looking at me...i bet you'd really like to shag me. and, even though you don't look like your glamour shot, i find you strangely attractive.” i think the use of “shag” gives it a rather continental flair that counterbalances the more pedestrian reference to "shaggy." dude, you want "literary accomplishment," i'll show you fucking "literary accomplishment." jackass. in a kind of hot way.

of course, if you’re a regular visitor, you know that i’m not exactly eloquent in the face of greatness. you know, greatness…like that time i met richard marx. and all i could say was, “wow…cool.”

so, it was my turn, and i step up to the table. and he looks up at me and smiles and says, “hi…interesting question you asked.”

silence.

“so…who should i make this out to?”

“no name. just signature.”

me like book. book good. fire bad.

so, i realize that i have about 2.1 seconds left with this guy who wrote this book that profoundly affected me and i’ve managed to bust out exactly one word that is polysyllabic, so i open my mouth and this is what comes out:

“i just want to say, thanks. not just for the signature, but for the book. it was amazing. i mean, it was more than amazing. it was a revelation. it was awesome! i mean, not ‘awesome’ in a surfer dude way, but in a more literal sense…you know, emphasis on the 'awe.' part."

sweet fancy moses.

he just stared at me. looking very confused. and, if i'm honest, more than a little nervous.

“um…thanks.”

oh, yeah, baby…he wants me bad. and who wouldn’t? i mean, i’m fucking dazzling over here.

and, also, you don't look anything like your jacket photo.

[ed. note: think i exaggerate? well, check this out. although, in his defense, that's a very good picture of him compared to a very very bad picture of him. seriously, if he really looked like that second one, i never would have gotten all tongue-tied and said 'awesome.' never.]
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2.19.2003  

it's not another movie review...it's a dvd review. totally different.
so this isn’t a movie review in the sense of a movie-that’s-playing-in-theaters review. get off me. the theaters weren’t open. instead, it’s a dvd review. but it’s a newly released dvd, so it’s practically like it’s a real movie.

okay, so today’s pick is possession, starring gwyneth paltrow and aaron eckhart and directed by neil labute. you know neil labute, right? he directed such classic chick-flicks as in the company of men. you know that one. the one where two misogynist pigs think it would be a blast to fuck with the emotions of a blind chick? yeah, that one has romance written all over it. or how about labute’s your friends and neighbors where everybody fucks around on everybody else in some effort to find happiness but it turns out that they don’t get happy they just fuck around and feel miserabler. not that miserabler is a word. but i think it goes a long way in getting the point across.

yeah, so, based on his previous work i bet you’re all on board with the idea of possession being some really romantic movie, right?

right off the bat, let’s just get the issue of the title out of the way. possession is a lame-ass title. it sounds like some b-movie starring natasha henstridge and gil bellows and he’s some bitter divorced cop who lives on a boat and she’s this rich socialite in a loveless marriage who’s getting death threats and they find love in each other’s arms, but, in the end, it turns out that she’s a bad woman and he has to shoot her.

or, maybe it would be a good title for a b-movie starring denise richards as the single mother of some adorable, yet wholly generic, moppet who has suddenly started making very bad things happen and then a hot and brooding occult-junkie whose younger sister [played by dawson creek’s michelle williams in the flashback sequences] was killed by, um…a demon…or something, comes along to unravel the mystery. and stuff. anyway, he’d be played by matt leblanc. of course, there’s the inevitable dénouement where the moppet’s father, played by some baldwin brother, turns out to be the cult leader who’s grooming the kid to take his place.

but, possession is a stupid-ass title for this particular movie.

here’s the skinny:

eckhart plays an ugly american who’s slogging away on some literary research project about some universally adored dead british poet. this dead british poet guy, played by jeremy northam [as though there was any doubt he’d be played by jeremy northam.] is known for writing these beautiful love poems to his wife, to whom he was undyingly devoted.

then there’s gywneth doing her i-can’t-believe-she’s-not-british accent, playing a literary scholar who is an expert in the work of her great-great-something or other, who was some big-deal poet herself. and, also, she was a lesbian [what’s up with the literary flicks and their lesbians these days??].

anyway, the ugly american has reason to believe that the dead british poet guy was writing some fairly steamy – well, steamy in a literary way – letters to the lesbian. and she was writing back in a similarly literarily steamily way. of course, if such a correspondence could be verified, it would rock the literary world! although, let’s be honest, i’m not sure that it really takes a whole lot to rock the literary world. i mean, remember when that guy wrote that primary colors book about the not-clintons and called himself anonymous? that rocked the literary world. and, also, when that asshole jonathan franzen destroyed my one shot at being on the oprah winfrey show because he’s a pompous jackass who ran off at the mouth about how women who watch oprah couldn’t possibly appreciate his highbrow literary work? rocked the literary world. so, i think we’ve established that it’s a world that’s easily rocked.

so, the ugly american and the american-playing-a-brit go off in search of. like the old leonard nimoy show. only without the cool intro music. they retrace the steps of the two star-crossed dead lovers and – oh, here’s a shock – they end up kissing and stuff along the way.

luckily, there are enough one-liners and light moments to keep things from slipping into chick-flick-taking-itself-entirely-seriously territory. and, eckhart plays his ugly american with enough guyness that those of you with penises will not feel suffocated by chickness, despite the presence of period costumes, flashbacks and the occasional longing glance. actually, you might find that the flashback story is much more compelling and fully realized than that of the present-day counterparts. although eckhart is still fun to watch.

it’s a movie set in the lightning-paced world of literary researchers, academic uptights and poets which is entirely populated by dreamy-looking people like paltrow and eckhart. obviously, a fantasy piece. but, a really smart, well-rounded fantasy piece.

honestly, i would say this was one of my favorite movies of last year. seriously. and, you’re gonna like this movie, too. yeah, i’m talking to you…with the penis. yes, it’s schmoopy. but if you just lighten up and get over yourself you might enjoy it…and you might even get laid for bringing home such a schmoopy ,smart, beautiful and genuinely touching movie instead of blue crush. again.
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2.18.2003  

the bacon diaries : day 4
i rose early this morning. the screaming white light of the sun lighting up the room like a thousand light bulbs.

no need to look outside. i know what i’ll see.

it snowed again last night.

of course, what’s another inch on top of 24?

24 and a half, for those of you playing along at home. no, wait…it would actually be 25. dammit. yeah...it's 25. that “new math” stuff always did confuse me.

the streets are deserted, save for the occasional suv making its way slowly down the road.

----
we interrupt this pointless and rambling drivel to bring you the following smart-ass commentary:

oh, sure suvs are the tools of the devil. until ‘ol jc brings it on down and you end up with snow up to your ass. then every meals-on-wheels, every hospital, every save-a-stranded-motorist organization, every drive-around-and-check-on-old-people group in the tri-state area is on television begging for people with suvs to volunteer. to come on out, and brave the weather and drive during this state of emergency when the roads have been officially closed by the governor. to come on out and help their fellow man. gee, i’d love to help my fellow man, but i don’t want to take us to the brink of war in iraq [you know, no war for oil], so my suv is still buried under 25 inches of snow. just doing my part in the war on terrorism, buddy. sorry. good luck out there in your ford focus, though!

we now return you to the pointless and rambling drivel already in progress
----

actually, my suv is buried under more like 50 inches of snow. why is that? well, it’s because my fellow men are a bunch of assholes. oh, perhaps i’m too harsh. maybe they just didn’t get the memo. you know the memo. the one that says that if your car is parked in a row of parking spaces, and you decide that you must dig your car out, even though there’s no way you're going anywhere on those roads, then please, when shoveling snow off of your car do not throw it over your shoulder on to my car.

no, clearly the people parked on either side of me did not get their memos. of course, you’d think that anyone with enough sense to be able to walk upright would say to themselves, “hey, if i dump my snow on that car, then that person will have to shovel twice as much snow. that's not very nice. i will not do that.” you’d think.

of course, i exaggerate. it’s probably not 50 inches. it’s probably only like 40. why is that?

well, one of the women parked beside me is not only inconsiderate, but also stupid. a combination which, in this case, worked to my advantage. i’ve suspected that she’s a nutjob for a while now, but when she decided to start shoveling snow at about 10:00 last night, it didn't take long for my suspicions to be confirmed.

first, she shoved all the snow that was behind her car about four feet to the left so it is now behind my car. clearly, inconsiderate. not necessarily stupid, though. but, then, in what can only be described as an exercise so lacking in reason that it makes your brain hurt if you think about it for any length of time at all, she proceeded to pile the snow that was beside her car behind her car. seriously. behind her own car. so, now she can get in her car. she just can’t back it out of its parking space. i imagine her getting all bundled up and getting in her car. then just sitting there and making vroom-vroom noises. maybe she even takes an imaginary friend with her on her little drive. and then they turn on the radio and sing along with hang on sloopy while they drive to…new mexico. and, while they're driving, they see this little taco place, and they decide to stop, because they both want to try a fish taco and they've never had one before but they hear they're amazing, but it seems to be taking a long time for their order to get ready, so they just speed away [vrooooom] and the manager of the taco place comes running out as they speed off, and he’s shaking his fist in the air at them and shouting in spanish. but she and her imaginary friend just toss their heads back and laugh about which one of them is thelma and which one is louise.

clearly, i need to get out of the house.

so, anyway, i won’t be able to move my satanic suv until the spring thaw. but, hey, there’s nothing so frustrating that a nice bacon sandwich won’t make it all go away, right?

what?

what do you mean, “no more bacon”?

sweet piggly wiggly, how can this be?

even though the snow continues to fall. even though i am the world’s biggest puss when it comes to cold weather. even though i wanted to spend the day lying around, eating bacon sandwiches and watching crossing over with john edwards, i know now what i must do.

if you find this...if i don’t make it back…tell laura i love her.

[ed. note: yesterday, it was an ice station zebra reference. now it's tell laura i love her. and i'm not even going near that whole thelma and louise/fish taco thing. listen, bacon or no bacon, it is definitely time to get the hell out of the house. really. honest to god, run, do not walk, to the great outdoors. oh, and take some pictures while you're out. you definitely need more snow pictures.]
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2.17.2003  

mmmmm...bacon
first off, i'd like to give a hearty thanks, jackass to whoever scheduled the storm of the century for my three-day weekend.

having said that, let's review what's been going on here over the course of the last three snowbound days:

- organized all sweaters by color. then by sleeve-length. then by neckline. then, my head exploded.

- spent hour upon endless hour reviewing the mirror project. then, spent next day and a half looking for any and all reflective surfaces in my house, trying to take artsy, yet still flattering, self-portrait. realized this is impossible. took about 437 pictures of snow, instead.

- thanked god that i have 144 cable channels. cursed his name when i remembered that there is never anything worth watching on any of them. seriously, not a single one. put on telemundo and hit the mute button. left it on like that for hours. no idea why.

- stared into pantry looking for something to eat. see nothing appealing, despite enormous amount of food. close pantry door. open pantry door again moments later, as if pantry elves would have magically replenished food supply with yummy pre-prepared goodness. stunning disappointment. evidently, pantry elves are without four-wheel drive vehicle.

- practiced photoshop skills by placing hello kitty's head on body of every member of my family. then, chococat's head. then, the head of that conductor guy in conjunction junction. then, south park characters. then, i made us all blue! must. get. out. of. house.

- spent 20 minutes layering clothing onto body in preparation for going outside to snap even more artsy snow photos [ed. note: but these would be nighttime photos. totally different than the previous 437 snow photos.]. despite 73 layers of clothing and gale-force winds resulting in virtual white-out, manage to walk down four flights of stairs and out into freezing-ass night only to discover that the battery in my digital camera is kaput after having snapped 437 snow photos earlier that day. make way back up stairs.

- haloscan: totally crapped out. blogger: errors publishing new posts. me: trying to send hate mail to both services, and having aneurysm because, after pressing send, i receive a message that the hotmail server is too busy to send my message. briefly consider taking more snow pictures to distract myself.

i did learn one very important thing, though: never underestimate the simple goodness of a bacon sandwich. at some point in my life, somebody convinced me to stop eating bacon. probably for health reasons or some such nonsense.

whatever, people.

bacon is the nectar of the gods and i shall never again be denied its smoky goodness.

and that's the report from ice station zebra.
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2.14.2003  

a thousand words for love
i read once that the ancient egyptians had fifty words for sand & the eskimos had a hundred words for snow. i wish i had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep & there are no words for that.
--- brian andreas


someone who is far away from me, but never really, did the nicest thing.

pink and purple and gerber daisies and lillies. and white tulips.

and i smiled.

and i remembered the scorching august heat in the last days before my sophomore year. sitting in the back seat of our wood-paneled volare station wagon as we pulled up to the stoplight at the center of my small hometown. as i looked out the window, i saw him in the go mart parking lot. he was with a group of friends, all of them on bikes.

we’d known each other since we were eight, despite the fact that we lived across town from one another and went to different schools. we shared a birthday, his one year earlier than mine.

i could see him laughing with his friends. i could hear the tick-clunk of the volare’s turn signal. and, then, just as we were about to turn right on red, he saw me.

as we rounded the corner, i turned to face the front of the station wagon. with my window halfway down, i could hear shouting outside. a car horn honking.

halfway down the block, we stopped, waiting our turn at the four-way stop. in the front seat, my parents were making plans to grill out.

suddenly, there he was. out of breath, he tossed his bike on the pavement and ran to the side of the station wagon.

his hand was on my half-down window.

“are you going to the high school?” he panted. “i mean, i wasn’t sure if you were…going to the high school…or maybe you were going to catholic.”

the car inched forward. he moved alongside, his hand still on my window.

“so, are you going to the high school?”

i nodded.

it was our turn at the four-way.

“okay, great! i’ll see you next week, then! woo! i mean, i’ll look for you!”

i nodded again.

as we pulled away, i looked back. he was jumping up and down, whooping joyously. he grabbed his bike off the ground, climbed on and started doing wheelies, still whooping so loud i could hear him through my half-open window.

i turned to face forward, smiling. my mother turned to me.

“looks like someone is a big fan of yours,” she said.

my father, still staring straight ahead, added, “looks like someone is trouble.”

i put my hand against the glass where i could still see his handprint. i lined the ends of our fingers up, wondering what it would be like to hold his hand. and i rode like that the rest of the way home.

----

it was a typical party. a group of friends on a hot, summer night, all of us anxious for the semester to begin. laughter. talking.

we took a bottle of wine, two glasses, and headed outside to watch the river glide by.

“feels good to get some fresh air,” he offered.

“it was so loud in there, i couldn’t hear myself think,” i said, as though i had just invented the saying.

we poured the wine and began to talk in the earnest tones of two liberal arts majors who still believed they were going to change the world.

we talked of israel and palestine.

we talked of maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

we talked of the pretentiousness of people who talked about maslow’s hierarchy of needs outside of class.

and then, as though summer itself was acknowledging the oppressiveness of the air that night, the sky lit up for a moment, and a deep rumble of thunder drowned out our laughter.

“heat lightning,” he muttered.

and, almost immediately, the rain began.

neither of us moved. we continued laughing and talking as though nothing had changed.

a few moments later, we came to one of those natural lulls in conversation. a mutual rest. and, in that pause, i became aware of a watershed. a sea change.

i watched as the last dry, light spot on my shirt disappeared. i felt the moment that my hair became soaked instead of just wet. i listened as the gentle sound of the rain hitting the river picked up speed, as the shower turned to a downpour.

and, still, we sat. watching. listening. change all around us.

“what would you say,” he said, still staring at the river, “if i told you i was falling in love with you?”

i didn’t hesitate for even a moment.

“i’d say you were playing catch up.”

as the sound of the storm grew louder, we sat side by side, not speaking. in the darkness, his hand found mine, and as i turned my face toward the sky, the night lit up again.

changed.

----

the bright, hard light of the winter morning pushed hard against my closed eyes.

as i reluctantly sat up, i realized he was sitting at the foot of the bed, staring at me.

his pale blue eyes looked anxious.

“what? what’s wrong?”

“nothing,” he said. but, his eyes unnerved me.

“how long have you been sitting there? what’s going on?”

he didn’t say anything.

i remember the pattern on the drapes. the interlocking squares in shades of brown. the sound of children walking past, their voices growing louder as they approached, and fading away again.

something was different.

as i pulled the bedspread around me, i looked down.

the ring glinted in the light.

i remember thinking, “how did this get here? what is that?”

he was on his knees now, beside the bed. i was still staring at the ring that had somehow been placed on my hand as i slept. he took my hand in his.

“will you marry me?”

----

the night had been perfect, although the two of them still seemed nervous with one another. but, that was to be expected. after all, it was only their second date.

they talked until her throat was sore. told each other stories. some of them true.

the night had turned to early morning, and she knew it was time to leave. but, as she got up to go, he stopped her.

“wait,” he said.

he turned the stereo on.

“i thought we might dance.”

and so they did. in the dark of his living room. in the early hours of the morning. his arm around her waist. her face buried in the side of his neck, breathing in the smell of him.

when he kissed her for the first time that night, she was amazed to find that she was dizzy. her knees were weak. as though she had never been kissed before.

and it was the same every time he kissed her for the next six years.
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2.13.2003  

a purely hypothetical scenario
i was hypothesizing about something last night.

suppose that you wrote a little something. just a throwaway, really. a little rant of sorts. and you put it up on your little website that doesn’t really get massive amounts of traffic or anything.

suppose that, in that little bit of somethingness, you happened to mention gary kroeger a certain person. maybe in a way that is sort of…well…snarky.

i was just imagining what might happen if gary kroeger that person found your little teeny-tiny-itty-bitty corner of the internet one day. just stumbled upon it, really. and just happened to read through all your old stuff. ‘cause, hypothetically speaking, gary kroeger he stumbled on to your site months after you’d written that little something that just so happened to mention him in a snarky way.

i mean, do you think gary kroeger that person would be cool enough to send you an email? not like a "kiss my ass" email. but, a cool email. maybe even an email saying, “hey, i just thought i’d let you know that i really enjoy your writing, and i think you're really funny…even though you took a swipe at me.”

i bet that, if that happened, you probably wouldn’t believe the email was really from gary kroeger that person. i mean, come on…what are the chances?

i bet you might even send him a response saying, “thanks, but i gotta tell ya that i’m not entirely sure that you’re the real gary kroeger person you say you are…i mean, come on…it’s the internet. it’s pretty easy to pretend you’re someone you’re not.” seriously. i mean, just take a look at match.com and read any profile without a picture. now go meet that person. it's pretty damn easy to pretend to be someone you’re not. am i right or am i right?

i’d even go so far as to speculate that you might even send an email to a good friend and say, “hey, cory good friend, did you send me an email pretending to be gary kroeger this other person? trying to yank my chain a little maybe?” and your friend would say, “no…but, strangely enough, he’s from the same town i’m from. what are the chances?”

i bet --- again, completely hypothetically speaking -- that gary kroeger the person might even be so cool as to send you an email in response to your “dude, i’m not buying it” email and explain things even further, and tell you that he wasn’t offended or anything like that.

i bet you’d even be impressed by how cool gary kroeger that person is.

i bet you’d be redfaced with shame and vow to never be snarky again.

never be snarky again?!

damn. thank god this is all hypothetical.
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2.12.2003  

names have been changed to protect the pop-culturally challenged
pop-culturally challenged person: aha! you are so busted!

pop culture queen: aha? what 'aha!'?

pccp: in your blog, you said that whenever that car commercial with that gary numan song comes on, you dance on the couch. every time.

pcq: right.

pccp: well, you're not dancing, are you? aha! busted!

[pcq stares at television for a moment, then turns to pccp.]

pccp: see? you're busted.

pcq: really?

pccp: oh yeah.

pcq: yeah. that commercial right there? not a nissan commercial. some commercial for some american car -- can't tell them apart, so i don't know which one. anyway, it's not nissan. and that guy singing? not gary numan.

[pause]

pcq: no. that would be randy newman.

[silence]

pcq: of course, i can see how you'd get the two confused. both had hits in the early 80s. gary numan with cars and randy newman with i love l.a.. and, of course, the controversial short people. i'm sure it was an honest mistake. i mean, stylistically, they're so similiar i can see how easy it would be to confuse them.

pccp: shut up.

[long pause]

pcq: also, just to be sure we're all clear, i never claimed to dance during any paul newman performance. even if he sings.

pccp: ha ha.

pcq: or laraine newman either, not that she's really doing much these days.

pccp: i think you've made your point.

pcq: or even that guy who played that guy newman on seinfeld.

pccp: really, i concede the point.

[pause]

pcq: okay, i have to admit that those last three, those were just sass talk. so, you know, i apologize for that.
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2.11.2003  

i bet bob vila never would have thought of that
when i got divorced, i fought really hard to keep my house. really hard. stupidly hard. i mean, my ex-husband was the overwhelming majority of the marital income. and our mortgage was the overwhelming majority of the marital debt. the math didn’t add up, but i would not be dissuaded.

approximately twelve minutes after the ink was dry on the divorce decree, everything that was breakable in any way broke at my house.

the roof started leaking.

as did the hot water tank.

the garbage disposal? not disposing.

and, of course, the ceiling fan dropped about four inches out of the kitchen ceiling. for no apparent reason at all.

i couldn’t even imagine where to start. i had no idea what to do. not to mention that i had no tools, courtesy of my ex-husband. seriously…no tools. except one hammer. it was his favorite hammer, and i kept it out of spite and pettiness. well, spite, pettiness and a real honest-to-god need for a hammer. in retrospect, i have no idea how i ever ended up married to someone who actually professed to have a favorite hammer. but, that's a whole other ball of wax.

i called my mom to see if she would ask my dad to come and fix all the broken stuff at my house. i have no idea how so many of us end up with this dynamic – calling our mothers to ask our fathers something. why can’t i just call my father? it's simply not done.

my dad is a guy full of good intentions. let’s just say that right off the bat. really good intentions. however, he’s a bit lacking on the follow-through. i mean, he's not exactly timely.

“your father will be over tomorrow to take a look at things,” my mother said.

i could hear him in the background.

“i don’t know shit about hot water tanks. better tell her that. or garbage disposals either.”

great.

“mom? tell him to be sure and bring tools. seriously, if he thinks we’ll need anything more than a really nice hammer and some duct tape to fix this shit, he’s gonna have to bring some tools.”

so, the next evening, i waited for my father to show up.

and waited.

and waited.

and, as i waited, i thought about my situation. waiting for a man to come and fix my stuff. and i wondered why i couldn’t just fix it myself. my house. my broken stuff. sure, i didn’t know the first thing about how to fix the broken stuff, but it sounded like my dad didn’t know, either, so what the hell.

i rummaged through my car until i found a few screwdrivers. stumbled onto a pair of pliers in a kitchen drawer -- no idea what they were doing there, but there they were. and, i dragged out an old reader’s digest guide to how to fix all the broken shit in your house book that my mom had given me years ago.

it was pretty clear that i wasn’t going to fix a leaky roof that night. probably not the hot water tank, either. that left the garbage disposal and the ceiling fan. being a total novice, i reasoned that working with electricity would somehow be safer than the prospect of grinding off my hand, so i decided that i would fix the ceiling fan.

after reading -- okay, skimming -- the section on working with electrical wiring, i felt sure that i could address the problem at hand.

first order of business: turn off the power. actually, first order of business was to find the freaking box where you turn off the power.

then, to my utter surprise, after i turned off the electricity, it was dark. clearly, i had not thought this through. so, i turned the power back on, and began what i was sure would be a futile search for flashlights.

i was thrilled when i found two flashlights -- and they actually seemed to be working. while i was sure they would provide plenty of light, i soon realized that i had yet another problem: i could not hold the flashlights with one hand and try and do the electrical work with the other.

i tried positioning them on the countertops. they rolled off.

i tried propping them up on books. they fell down.

now i was pissed. but, i would not be deterred.

some time later, i heard my front door open.

“dad? i’m in the kitchen.”

“why is it dark in here? how come the lights don’t work?”

“the power’s off – i’m working on the ceiling fan.”

“dammit, i told you i was coming out to take a look at it.”

“i think i almost have it, dad.”

i heard him make his way through the house, bumping into things, cursing under his breath. finally, i heard him set down his toolbox at the kitchen door.

“okay, now…what in the world? oh…oh….”

i heard him back up and bump into the dining room table.

“dad? watch out over there….”

“uh…” he stammered as he tripped over the toolbox on the floor.

“oh, dad, come on….”

“i’m going outside. i’ll be out there…i mean, i’m going outside.”

i heard the front door slam.

and what was it that had sent my dad scurrying for the door? well, i guess it was me…and his overdeveloped sense of modesty.

see, in what i thought was a brilliant stroke of ingenuity, i had found a way to free up both hands while still getting the lighting i needed to do the repairs: i simply took off my shirt and stuffed a flashlight in each cup of my bra. when i moved, the lighting moved with me. is this not genius!?! i mean, seriously, how come they never show you this kind of shit on hgtv?

in all fairness, though, i guess the last thing my dad expected to see was his grown daughter half-naked like that. with electrified boobs.

i totally fixed the ceiling fan, though.

and, two days later, i fixed the garbage disposal, too. the hot water tank was a lost cause, though, and the roof couldn’t be properly repaired until spring.

when i called my mom to ask her to ask my dad if he would come over to patch the roof, i could hear him in the background again.

“yes. i will come over and fix it. but you tell her that she better have all of her clothes on when i get there, or i’m leaving and she can pay somebody to come fix it. i’m serious as a heart attack.”

“oh, fine. honey, your dad says he’ll come over, but please don’t be naked or anything when he gets there. i swear to god, i think he’s permanently scarred from that last incident.”

“jesus, he’s such a tightass about stuff like that.”

“i know, honey, but just make sure you’re not naked, okay?”

"and, it's not like it was some skanky bra or something. it was one of the really nice, sexy ones. all lacy and stuff."

"well, honey, i'm not sure because your father will not talk about it, but it could be that the fact that it was a sexy, lacy bra was part of the problem."

"oh. so, should i wear the unattractive cotton stuff next time?"

"do you want your roof repaired or not?"

while “permanently scarred” might have been an overstatement, it was an entire year before my dad would come into my house without first sticking his head in the door and yelling, “you’re not naked in here are you?”
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2.10.2003  

you better step off, bitch, 'cause germany will cut you
late last week, united states president george w. bush stated that “the game is over” for iraqi president, saddam hussein.

in a response on friday, france’s prime minister jean-pierre raffarin said “it’s not a game, it’s not over.”

when asked for comment, the remaining members of the un security council offered a collective “oooo, girl.”

however, great britain, which has been the united states’ sole ally in its push for a war against iraq, voiced dissent from the other members of the security council with its comment of “oh no you di’int.”
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2.07.2003  

operation shitcan is underway
i’ve been thinking about how much i need a new job.

i need a new job.

a lot.

my current job sucketh much, in oh-so many ways i cannot even begin to list them here. and, also i cannot begin to list them here because, sometimes, people think it’s cool to do that and then their boss finds their website and then they get shitcanned.

so, there’s that.

let me just say that it's a coin toss between the mind-boggling incompetence of my "manager" and the utter lack of common courtesy in my workplace. really...too close to call.

but, as i look through the job postings on the various boards -- monster.com, hotjobs.com, youngsexxyhottjobs.com [that one didn’t really have many postings, although i spent about four hours looking], i’m realizing that when the president says things like “the economy is getting better,” he’s lying. at least in terms of jobs. and gas prices. and other economic stuff.

so, since i haven’t seen any jobs that appeal to me and/or pay what i currently make [no, i’m not rolling in cash over here, but i would like to be able to pay rent and buy food in the same month. i’m old-fashioned like that.], i’ve been thinking that a plan might be in order.

i’ve been trying to think of ways to get fired so i can collect unemployment. but, not anything horrifying that would haunt me in trying to find a new job. just little things.

- every time someone calls my desk, answer “whassup, beeyotch?”

- post a new “policy” in the employee lunch room stating that i should now be referred to as “the almighty.”

- move into one of the nice, cushy already-occupied corner offices and, when asked what the hell i think i’m doing just say, “i’m worth it.”

- when asked to attend important meetings, respond with “dude, the last four meetings you made me attend were boring and accomplished nothing. i’m gonna have to take a pass on this one. thanks for thinking of me, though.”

i’m thinking of launching operation shitcan in may so i’ll be free to enjoy the summer. so, i’m pretty much open to suggestions until april, at which time i will need to finalize my plan and address logistics.

but, you know, until then, feel free.
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2.06.2003  

ode to the haloscan comment system
shit that doesn't work
doesn't
work
even if it's free.

i
hate you
so
much.

okay, so poetry is, clearly, not my bag.
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i guess i should have slapped an MA rating on this motherfucker
eons ago [okay, it was august or september], when i first started writing here, i received an email from someone who suggested that i find some blog review sites and submit my page for review as a way to get more people to visit my site.

and, since we all like to pretend that our blogs are just creative outlets, but, deep down, we know it’s all just a plea for validation, i checked out a few.

turns out that most of them were overwhelmed with pleas for validation and weren’t accepting any new submissions. or some were accepting submissions, but it would cost you some cold hard cash to get your plea for validation heard. and even with the outflow of the cash, there was no guarantee that you would actually be validated. just heard.

however, i did find one review site that was accepting new submissions, and didn’t require me to give them money. bloggy opinions.

sure, it was a silly name. and, sure, the site looks like the front of a fourth grade math book that might be used at the school on board the starship enterprise. and, yeah, the reviewers have pseudonyms like "silhouette" and "twisted sanity." but, you know, i think we’ve all been in those situations where we need some “validation” and we look at some guy at the end of the bar a review service and think…yeah, that’ll do for tonight.

so, i submitted my site to the bloggy opinions folks. and then…well, then nothing. they had a really long waiting list and, frankly, i forgot all about it.

until last week.

last week, i received an email [from silhouette herself, no less!] stating that my site had been reviewed and the review was posted.

i now post said review, in its entirety:

"Now, the name of this blog sure sounds...different. A take off of To Kill a Mockingbird. I am not sure what the name really has to do with the blog, but it has one similarity. Both are funny.

One of the standard Blog-spot templates was "spoofed" up to make this page look pretty original, and very interesting. The post ranges from past high school experiences, to current meetings with online friends. This blog really weaves the story of one 32 year old's life.

Part of my favorite post - 'maybe you should change the name to tequila cock'n'boob. that way your audience is wider.'

cock'n'boob?! It's just wrong to mess with a piece of classic literature like that! But if you look close enough, you will even see some life lessons in that. :)

Great blog! A+++!"

upon reading the review of my site, i wasn't really sure what to think. i mean, i got an a+++. which is pretty much the best you can do. i think. i mean, other than an a++++. or maybe an a+++++. or a+ to the infinite power. i don’t know. but, a+++ seemed pretty good.

still…the review sort of struck me as…well, to quote my reviewer, the review struck me as “different”.

and, so, now, without further ado, and with as little snarking as i can manage [‘cause who wants to look like an ungrateful bitch? after all, i did get an a+++.], i shall now review my review:

this review doesn’t really tell you much about the site, its contents, or why you would or wouldn't want to visit it.

thanks for explaining the derivation of the name, though…i bet lots of people were really confused. as for the name not having anything to do with the actual content of the blog, i had no idea that was de rigueur. seriously. i mean, i've been reading blogs like geese aplenty and le petit hiboux and i swear i don't remember any posts about geese or french owls. clearly, i have not been paying attention. so now i’m considering changing the name of my site…maybe i'll call it stuff i type on my computer at work or things that happen to me and i write down and then put on my web page.

as far as the “spoofing” of my template, i think the word is spiffed. my template has been “spiffed.” not spoofed. if i spoofed the template, the site would be funnier. like the onion or something. or like that movie, top secret. the one with val kilmer in it. where they make fun of spy movies. and there’s a cow in boots or something like that. you know the one. so, yeah…spiffed. not spoofed.

also, i’m 33. don’t want anyone to think i’m trying to do some big catherine zeta-jones move and shave any years off my age. i’m sure you probably thought you were helping a sister out there, but i’m cool with the whole 33 thing. plus, if you’re going to try and help a sister out, you might want to shave more than a year off. most folks who engage in such things would probably take off at least two years.

and, i think the direct quote was a little off. see, the direct quote from my writing actually runs all the way through “…like that!” but, you actually stopped the direct quote a couple of sentences before that. so, it sort of looks like you wrote those two sentences after the quote ends. but, you didn’t. i did.

as for your observation that “…if you look close enough, you will even see some life lessons in that. :)” i respectfully disagree. no, you really won’t see any life lessons in that. or anything else on my site. please do not suggest to people that they should read my writing in hopes of finding life lessons. i really don’t need that kind of pressure. and, as an aside, i would advise against the use of “smilies” in reviews. it sort of makes the rest of the review redundant if you think about it. i mean, you could actually do an entire review system using only “smilies.”

:) = thumbs up = good
:| = okay-fine = average
:( = sucks = sucks

i don’t know, maybe you want to check into something like that. would save you some typing. here's how it would work:

my review of your review: :(

see how much less typing i could have done?


so, i was kind of hemming and hawing, not sure if i really wanted to post that, and be all bitchy and stuff, and bite the hand that gives me an a+++, and come off looking like an ungrateful bitch. i mean, it was supposed to be funny...not mean. but, it seemed a little meaner than funny. and, while i'm trying to decide what to do, i just so happen to go on over to bloggy opinions [ed. note: every time i type that, my head just shakes wearily from side to side. it’s an involuntary reaction, i swear.] to read my reviewer's profile:

Gender: Female

Age: 12

Personal Quote: "Is it really my fault that I was born to make trouble?"

Description: It seems like I am always having to fill these out... For school, church, sports... EVERYTHING... For once I will put the most honest one ever... My name is Teranika. I don't have a "real" name as you ordinary mortals would say... Just a nickname... I like to eat and work on computers. I spend 1/4 of my entire day at school... getting "educated." This leaves very little time for things like... sleeping, eating, and other vital practices. I am a competitive twiler [sic…unless “twiler” is a real thing i have never heard of that 12-year-old girls like to do in their spare time when they’re not reviewing web pages and talking about how “cock’n’boob” was their most favorite part of the site.].. SO don't get me mad. You will be dead in .2 seconds. The same amount of time it takes my (imaginary) car to go from 0-60 mph. I am just so interesting. If you want to know any more about me, or just talk to me, email me.


i think i need say nothing else. especially since i don’t want to get her mad. ‘cause then i’ll be dead in .2 seconds. i guess she's able to kill people so quickly by running over them with her imaginary car.

i wasn't sure if reading the profile made me want to post my bitchiness more or less. i mean, i'm not trying to bust on a 12 year-old. except the imaginary car thing. i can't help myself there. but, really it's not the 12-year-old that deserves my scorn. no, it's the grown-ass people that run a site that includes a review from a 12-year-old -- no matter how precocious, no matter how "born to make trouble" -- in which she says that "cock'n'boob" was her favorite part. of anything.

post & publish.
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2.05.2003  

on knowing when to let it go
“so, you were on vacation in florida?”

“right. it was me, my ex-husband – of course, he was my husband then – his best friend, and his best friend’s wife. they were sort of like our best couple-friend. you know what i mean?”

“yeah.”

“i’d never been to florida. i was especially looking forward to going to disney world.”

“so, did you get to go to disney world?”

“sure did. that’s actually where he told me.”

“no way.”

“yep. we were in the car on the way to disney world, and he says, ‘you know, i really like florida. i think i could actually live here.’ and, i said, ‘really? i’m sort of surprised, i didn’t think you’d want to move so far away from your parents. what part of florida would you want to live in?’ and he says, ‘well, i kind of like clearwater. i’m thinking of moving to clearwater.’ see, with the gift of hindsight, i take special note of his use of the singular pronoun. i’m thinking of moving to clearwater…i think i could actually live here. i should have picked up on that.”

“well, hindsight’s 20/20.”

“right. so, anyway, we get to disney world, and i’m all excited because, hey, i’ve never been to disney world before and it’s kind of cool, and i’m looking forward to this whole daylong disney world adventure, and we’ve just come into the park and we just saw goofy, and we’re walking toward the cinderella castle-thing and i say, ‘if the weather’s like this every day in florida, i say we put the house up for sale as soon as we get home!’ and that’s when he says it. he doesn’t even miss a step. doesn’t even stop walking. he says, ‘actually, i’m thinking of moving to florida with t.’”

“and that’s his best friend’s wife, right?”

“exactly. the ones we’re on vacation with. and this is, like, day five of a ten-day trip.”

“no way. what did you say?”

“well, i was kind of stunned. i mean, at first i thought he was just kidding. then, it started to sink in. and, as it’s starting to sink in, i realize there’s music playing. you know, disney world music. and then i realize what the song is. it’s a small world.”

[silence]

“what, do you really hate that song or something?”

“well, no…i mean, not until that point. i mean, i hate it now. it was just that, you know, it’s a small world…get it? he just told me he’s leaving me for someone else and it turns out that it’s the woman we’re on vacation with.”

“oh.”

“you know how people say that sometimes? like, when they meet someone and they think they don’t know them or anything, and it turns out that they lived up the street from each other when they were kids, and then people say, ‘wow, it’s a small world.’ people say that.”

“oh. but the song’s not really about that, right? i mean, the song’s about togetherness.”

“you know what? i’m not telling you any more stories.”

“what? i’m just saying that i don’t get it. i mean, it’s total shit and everything, him ruining disney world for you like that, and leaving you for his best friend’s wife…but you lost me with the whole it’s a small world thing. maybe i just never heard that saying before or something.”

“that’s the whole goddamn denouement. the it’s a small world thing. that’s the punch line. it’s like if i said ‘knock knock’ and you said, ‘why didn’t you just ring the doorbell?’ and then i have to say ‘pretend it’s broken.’ at that point, it doesn’t matter who’s there anymore.”

“oh.”

[silence]

“so, did you get to go on any rides?”

“some, but the line for mr. toad’s wild ride was way too long and that really pissed me off.”

“no doubt. that was the best ride.”

[pause]

"are you sure that it's a small world thing is really a saying? it's just that, really, i don't think i've ever heard that before."
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2.04.2003  

in keeping with the spirit of my tagline, i now present: random stuff i think about
remember when tony blair first came along and everyone was like, “oh, he’s kind of a hottie for a world leader”? [keep in mind he came on the heels of john major who made abe vigoda look sexy.] anyway, i saw tony on tv with his newly attached siamese twin [scroll down for it...it's worth it...in a creepy way], our fearless president, and i thought, “damn…tony blair is starting to look really british.”

and not “british” in a jude-law-is-a-golden-god way. or even “british” in a hugh-grant-is-so-fucking-charming-since-he-cut-off-that-silly-floppy-hair-that-you-can-almost-forget-about-the-hooker kind of way.

no. just “british.” in a not-so-good way.

pity.

----

it would seem that the world can be divided into two kinds of people: those who think cadbury eggs are a gift from god, and those who find them revolting. as far as i’m concerned, whoever had the idea to make cadbury egg season extend well outside the confines of lent kicks copious quantities of ass. i love the cadbury eggs. however, it would seem that the world of cadbury eggs can be divided into two kinds of eggs: the kind that are all runny inside and actually look like a real egg, and those whose goo had solidified into a sort of creamy crystallized sugar. the second category is like a little chocolate geode -–you crack it open and there are these little sugar formations inside. i hate that. so, it was quite a disappointment when i had my first egg of the season a few nights ago and it was one of those eggs.

i ate it anyway, though.

----

have you ever noticed that whenever any part of the federal government has a news conference or anything like that, they have a really cool sign for their part of the government that hangs behind them? they all match. they’re all these blue ovals with the name of the department and a picture of their building. and the lettering and the little building thing look like they’re actually a little raised off the background. you know what i’m talking about. the white house has one. that wacky don rumsfeld has one [ed. note: man, is this picture begging for a caption or what?] colin powell even has the whole world on his.

i was thinking i'd like to get one of these signs.

i wonder who makes those. ‘cause you know they’re not just running down to signs plus or some place like that and getting those made.

i bet there’s a whole super-secret-sign-making department of the government. and they have an underground workshop. maybe with elves or something.

and you just know the sign for their department is the most kick-ass of all. it’s just sad because no one ever gets to see it.

----

how come vampires in movies make that strange sort of hissing-with-your-mouth-open sound right before they bite someone? you know the sound i’m talking about. it’s the sound you make if you…well, if you tried to hiss with your mouth open, i guess. or, like a heavy breathing out of your mouth with your mouth wide open. you know the sound.

anyway, i would think that movie vampires would want to stick with the more traditional “bluh bluh” sound. that way everyone knows you’re a vampire and not just some guy with something caught in his throat. seems like it would have more impact to just say “bluh bluh.” i mean, really. everyone knows “bluh bluh.” am i right?

----

laugh all you want to, but every time one of those nissan commercials with gary numan’s cars comes on, i can’t help but do a little dance on my couch. every. single. time.

go ahead. mock me.
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2.03.2003  

here's to the dreamers
i am a child of the 80s. i remember it as a decade that, at the time, seemed golden in its riches.

i remember january 28th, 1986.

it was cold. snow covered the ground. the sky was brilliant and blue and clear.

that day, televisions were set up in central locations at my high school – the library, the cafeteria. many teachers, of course, were anxious to watch as one of their own made history as the first civilian to travel into space.

i remember the words.

“roger. throttle up.”

it was so quiet.

it took moments to comprehend. to sink in. something was wrong. terribly wrong.

i remember being transfixed by the image. i forced myself to look away, ashamed by the fact that i found it so beautiful. that clear, brilliant, shockingly blue sky. the deep frothy pillows of white. the two snaking arms, streaked with blazing orange.

the generation that came before me lost its innocence in dealey plaza. in the flickering glow of the television as it brought the mekong delta into their living rooms. it was the first time that generation came face to face with the idea that our country was not invincible. many say the challenger tragedy was that moment for my generation. i don’t know. but i know that something changed that day.

we felt the loss of these seven people. and the loss of our sense of bravado and naivete which had somehow found its way back into our national personality.

i remember thinking what it must have been like. the idea of experiencing that supreme joy. of living a moment you had always dreamed of. to have chased that dream and actually caught it. as tragic as their deaths were, how amazing that moment must have been for them. to have reached for the stars and had them in their grasp, even if only for a moment.

one of the members of the columbia crew, mission specialist david brown, was a native of the dc area. his father spoke to a local newscaster about his son.

“as much as i will miss him, i take comfort in knowing that he died doing what he always wanted to do. he died living his dream. how many people can say that?”

the image of the challenger explosion is as clear in my memory today as it was on the television in my high school library on that cold morning some seventeen years ago. but, perhaps even more resonant are the words penned by the singular peggy noonan and spoken by ronald reagan. reagan was to have delivered the state of the union address that night. but, instead he delivered one of the most memorable speeches in modern history. it was more than a speech. it was a salve for a grieving nation. it was beauty. it was poetry. no jingoistic platitudes. no opportunistic nationalism. it was the kind of moment, the kind of speech, that is all too rare in these times. i do not know anyone who experienced the challenger tragedy who does not recall the final lines of reagan’s address that night:

“the crew of the space shuttle challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. we will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of god."

in december 1941, pilot officer john magee, a 19-year-old american serving with the royal canadian air force in england, was killed when his spitfire collided with another airplane inside a cloud. several months before his death, he composed a now-immortal poem, high flight. it was magee’s words that noonan borrowed for that speech.

oh, i have slipped the surly bonds of earth
and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
sunward i've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
you have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
high in the sunlit silence. hov'ring there,
i've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
my eager craft through footless halls of air.
up, up the long, delirious burning blue
i've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
where never lark, or even eagle flew.
and, while with silent, lifting mind i've trod
the high untresspassed sanctity of space,
put out my hand, and touched the face of god.


this weekend's tragedy brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from thoreau.

“go confidently in the direction of your dreams! live the life you’ve always imagined.”

and so they did.

and we are all a little closer to the stars for their having reached.
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