My younger-but-bigger brother turns twenty-one on Sunday. This blows my mind in ways I cannot describe without sounding maudlin. By the time I was twenty-one, I'd, well, I'd done a lot of things I'd rather not think of my younger-but-bigger brother doing. I'm delivering two pies to distract myself with images of him, five years old, eating half of a pie straight off the pie plate at my grandmother's house on Thanksgiving. Chocolate chip pie took care of today. Tomorrow will be banana cream day.
In other news of distraction, I counted the squares on our bedroom quilt today in an effort to perfectly center the blankets on the bed.
Despite the fact that I've long maligned public knitters (so grossly alterna), I've always secretly lusted after their ability. Especially since my grandmother died halfway through my crochet lessons. So I signed up for a beginners' knitting class at AC Moore next month. I guess it was mostly so I'd be able to make my own stuff like this. And a little more indie cred never hurt anybody, right? I'll still never bring my needles to brunch, though (ugh).
If you've already seen this, then I'm sorry. If you're in a sensitive situation, beware, there is sound involved.
...or did someone put Lara Flynn Boyle's head on backwards?
Is it wrong to feel personally insulted when the yellow O chair arrives after a 12-week wait, freshly upholstered in tweedy Canadian goodness, and it's got an 8 inch gash right through the fabric? I am someone you can walk right over, apparently. Is it wrong to expect just one transaction in my life to proceed without incident? Have I built up some sort of tragic consumption karma, whereby everything entering my life will be missing knobs, scratched up just so, or otherwise defect-ridden? Oh, to have a focus. Something to get my mind off of all the gashiness!
First and foremost, it's really fucking cold out. Please, don't suggest that we "go for a walk," "visit a funky little town," or "move to California." We've tried it all. (Except California.) It was nice to see Felicia today. Well, it was nice to see her during the parts of the day when we were indoors, sipping hot cider, shopping for books, or eating ice cream (in a perverse way, frozen treats were far less excruciating than I'd anticipated). During the parts of the day when we were trudging around Providence in search of eats, it was not quite so nice. But if this is the price we pay to see Felicia before she heads back to Chicago (psycho), we'll accept that.
Side note to self: try to find out why Providence has thirty-four Japanese restaurants within a tolerable 9°F walk of each other.
If you want to visit, let's aim for a July timeframe, shall we? By then, the icicle on my nose will probably have thawed. My wool-turtleneck-induced acne will have cleared up. I won't feel quite so guilty when you call out sheepishly from the back seat, "Could you turn on my seat heater?" (There isn't one.) We might even be able to meet up at the beach.
On second thought, I hate the beach. And if you come now, you might get to see all-wheel-drive in action. We've got the spare bedroom all set up, and we're a short fifteen minute drive from the casinos! We established this tonight when we stopped to waste some money on the way home from Providence. That's another story. I hate that stupid animatronic old Mohegan lady with the bad mojo.
I'm totally down, and for all the wrong reasons. Please don't think this is a plea for sympathy. I'm a little mooshamoosh, or understimulated, or something. If I haven't called or written, it's because there isn't much to say. Also, I'm a horrible phone person.
So, a story.
My first boyfriend, Jamie, was four years old. He lived at number 39, I was at 63. We kissed behind a table in nursery school and our parents thought it was this big cute thing. We knew better. It was fate.
Years passed anxiously then, and Jamie and I grew more serious. When we were 9 or 10, he started pressuring me to kiss with my mouth open. I was reluctant. I suggested we teach his little brother more swear words. It was an effective distraction. We used a flashlight to make a strobe effect while we took turns dancing in his parents' basement, among the mirrored beer signs and lots of brown. Eventually, he got bored. He broke his ankle and called to tell me about it.
He was nursed back to health by Tracy (from the intervening number 43). We all rode bikes together when he'd recovered. She had a ten speed. I had a banana seat. She and Jamie could lap me, riding around the block. I was scared of the place where the ditch crossed the street. They would happily jump the gap while I hung back, dismounted, and lifted my bike across.
I persuaded Shelley (from somewhere around 50) to help me win Jamie back. She went at my cause with a fervor. But it was suddenly obvious one day, as I was making my bed after a sleepover, that I would never get him back. I was startled by the dull void of heartbreak, and I gave up. Weeks later, Shelley called with the exciting news. She and Jamie were girlfriend and boyfriend. She said he realized it was she that he had loved all along. We were all 12.
Marc had his first yoga class last night. Actually, it was "Yoga Fusion," whatever the hell that means. I think it means chaotic yoga, if you can picture that. I've never seen so many poses covered in a one-hour class. Instead of focusing on, well, anything, the instructor simply calls out a new pose about every five seconds. We went through some sun salutations at a reasonable pace, and then did some quick balancing and floor work. Yuck.
After class, in the car, I made an easily-misunderstood comment to Marc: "I couldn't look at you -- I was afraid I would start laughing." Sometimes I get all excited about the humor in a particular situation, at a time when humor is entirely inappropriate. I feel the blood boiling up in my face, my cheeks start twitching, and I can't, under any circumstances, make eye-contact with anyone who might be in a similar state, or I will totally lose it.
The earliest instance I can remember being afflicted like was at the peak of hormonal high school. I was riding in the backseat of my friend Chris' car after a homecoming dance. He had taken my other friend Heather, and the three of us were heading to TGI Friday's. I don't know how it came up, but here's the statement that set me off: "So, that's why the tip of my dad's nose is totally fake." I bit my lip and sat way, way back in my seat. A few minutes later, as the car was crossing the truss deck Patroon Island Bridge, I saw Heather's face in the sideview mirror. Her jaw was clenched, and there was a single tear running down her cheek. She saw me looking at her, and we burst into hysterical, unstoppable laughter simultaneously. When we regained control, Heather told Chris I kicked her seat.
If you want in on this year's valentine extravaganza, drop me an e-mail with your snail-mail address. You will receive in return 1 (one) custom-made valentine thereby ensuring that you will not go heartless this February. Please specify glittery and happy or glittery and cynical.
Please dispose of Christmas Trees by carefully throwing it over your balcony. This will prevent sap and needles from littering the hallways.
As if we didn't already feel like we live in a dormitory...
Also, from further down the column:
Earn $150.00 off one months rent when you refer someone and they move in by January 15th!
That would be Wednesday. Takers?
Regarding this, first, yay! Ikea's building in New Haven! And then, no, boo! Ikea wants to tear down the better part of an architectural landmark for, of all things, the parking lot. I Googled, but wasn't able to find the outcome of the controversy.
I have a spherical glass paperweight, the kind with the glass detritus suspended inside, a nature-store give-it-to-anybody sort of gift. I bought the paperweight two years ago, intending to give it to my boss. I had taken some flack from my co-workers for buying gifts in previous years, so that year I baked lots of cookies and made little cookie bags for anyone who had done something nice for me. I wrote little notes thanking each person for whatever specific kindness they had bestowed upon me, like helping me replace the toner in the copier, scraping ice from my windshield one night when they left before I did, bringing me a cake made out of flowers for my birthday, whatever. I was then overwhelmed by the feeling that my coworkers perhaps meant less intimacy by these gestures than I was acknowledging, and that made me throw the little heartfelt notes away, but I gave out the cookie bags anyway.
I bought the paperweight because once you've given your boss a gift, you can't really not give a gift in the subsequent years. Well, I suppose you could, especially if you and your boss had some disagreements in the intermediate year, if your boss wasn't Christian and didn't celebrate the holidays anyway, or if you weren't planning to be in the office on the days before Christmas. Each of these things was true for me, and yet, in the Christmas spirit, I figured I'd better get him something anyway because I knew he would casually drop onto my desk a gift card that his (nouveau-Jewish) wife would insist he bestow upon his employees.
As it turned out, the day I lugged the cookies and the paperweight into work for distribution, my boss was out because the boat he was building had suffered some kind of tragic ding. That was my last scheduled day of working before my vacation began, and so I took the paperweight back home. The week off made me forget about bringing the gift into work after the new year, and so it sat on a shelf, wrapped, for months. Sometime around March I noticed the gold box and decided to deliver the gift in order to gain some mid-year brownie points. I think I was due for a performance review, anyway.
I carried the box into work and left it on my desk. The first time I saw my boss that day was in a meeting, where he belittled me for something stupid. I can't even remember what bothered me so thoroughly, but after the meeting, I marched myself back to my office, closed the door, liberated the gift of its wrapping (and thereby its very giftitude), and placed the paperweight in a prominent location on my desk. I received several comments of admiration for the paperweight, and whenever anyone would ask where it came from, I just explained that it had always been there.
I just unpacked the paperweight again recently, and gave it a prominent position on the megashelves. Each time I notice it there, I smile a little. I left that job and that boss over eight months ago, and I still cringe when I think of his ridiculous anklebiter management technique. This year I baked no cookies, wrote no little notes of gratitude, and certainly didn't shop for an insincere gift for someone for whom I was rapidly losing admiration, and who never really liked me anyway. I've never not given a better holiday gift than that paperweight.
That was the diagnosis after 8 hours in the emergency room. I took 3 bags of NaCl, something for nausea, and 8 mg of Morphine, and then came home and puked some more. Happy holidays, kids. I'm going to take a few days off to recover.
I just spent 30 bucks to have a woman named Suitlana wax my eyebrows. Three weeks ago I abandoned plucking for the first time in over six months, and she yelled at me, and my forehead is now all blotchy. It was worth every penny.
In addition to finishing my
Christmas holiday shopping, baking cookies, making candy, making little candy-filled ornament thingies, writing Christmas holiday cards, and generally getting it on with the festive moodiness this week, I'll be guest-hosting for a few days over at Ismat's site, The Text Obscured, along with he of the flippy hair, the inimitable Jason Royal and the object of my most sincere girl-on-girl crush to-date, Miss Sarah B.
Can you guess what I'm most excited about taking care of this week?
Ismat's off to Dubai and the motherland (which is where we've been telling the in-laws we're headed for the holidays, and which is, I'm pretty sure, somewhere far away and near Djibouti) and trusts the three of us to cover for her while she's gone. For a little while I thought it was just going to be me, and you know how often I'm able to come up with something entertaining to say here (still waiting, huh?), so you can see why I would be a little worried. Then I found out it was going to be this wacky houseparty with the two internet lovebirds and I suddenly felt much, much better.
(put the kids to bed now.)
Marc's former boss has fucked us up our collective ass, yet again. What is it with this world? What is it with this ass? What is it with the lack of insidiously successful revenge tactics at my disposal? We may have health insurance. Or, whee! We may not. We are left impotently muttering things like, "Oooh! I'd just like to... I'd like to... Oh, I just want to see him fail miserably!"
I've entered three stores in the last three hours and announced in each, "I'm looking for a screw." And damned if I didn't get the best service ever. One clerk even replied, "Oh, I better get Ed to help." No matches, though. Curse you, Sven!
The new mattress/box-spring set has arrived. The rest of the bed comes tomorrow. I can't help but notice as I languish on the ultra-comfy pillowy top that this mattress set is taller than our old platform bed with its mattress in place. Interesting. I'm wondering what sort of bed-fortress we're going to have once the rest of the arrangement arrives. Better get all the falling-out-of-bed tendencies out of my system tonight.
In any case, we've made significant progress. The 46 box shelving extravaganza has been de-boxed, assembled (with one small exception -- in typical Ikea fashion we are missing one godalmighty screw) and partially loaded. The 46 boxes have found their way to the cardboard recycling dumpster, conveniently located just outside the door and a quarter-mile down the street.
I even found time to make (make!) 120 holiday cards. I say "holiday" because I have a new Jewish grandmother-in-law of whom I am terrified. If anyone asks, that's just a pine tree on the front of the card, no religious sentiment intended, whatsoever. At the Post Office, the only stamps for sale behind the counter featured Mary and Jesus so I figured I'd better hold off until the snowman supply was replenished.
Yep, things are still frantic but the end is in sight. Why do I always move just before major life events and holidays?
clerk: So, are you using all this to stuff the stockings of your crafty friends?
me: Are you joking? No, this is all for me.
Details here. Basically, Mom's here, furniture building continues, I'm constructing Christmas cards from itty bitty pieces of paper, and it's like seventeen below zero outside. We're exploring Southeastern Connecticut shopping, I finally found a rowing club in town, Tony is alive, we're looking forward to some kind of Christmas party the husband's gone and gotten us invited to, and the little RX-7 is proudly running strong, more than I can say for myself.
I hate to go to a gathering empty-handed. Housewarming? I bring a pineapple. Birthday? At least a homemade card. And so it bothers me incessantly that each year my parents refuse to admit any shortcomings on the day before Thanksgiving. I've spoken to one parent or the other three times today, mostly to come up with a winter-weather strategy. Each time I've asked, "So, remember anything you've forgotten yet?" Each time the answer has been NO. They are simply too good at this.
We are bringing the following unsolicited items to Thanksgiving dinner:
1.) 2 dozen freshly-baked M&M cookies on a leafy plastic plate
2.) Creme de Cacao (my father makes kick-ass brandy alexanders)
3.) my mother's black sweater, with newly replaced buttons
4.) a bottle of cheap red wine, although my mother specifically requested Canei (yes you can!)
What are YOU bringing? Don't be a stooge. Come on, you've got to bring something.
We awoke this morning to the kind of snow that would make the entire state of New Jersey weep with fear. I was lying in bed when my snow instinct bell went off -- a sensory skill perfected during winter mornings in upstate New York, waiting, half-awake, for one of my parents to come into my room to say we were having a snow day. It is tripped by a curious muffled silence and the occasional distant creak of a footstep or car wheels. I can't see the parking lot or any roads from here, but the woods out back are coated in that beautiful whipped cream white, four inches at least and it's still coming down. You can keep your pansy wintery mix; this is fucking New England, baby.
There's nothing like meeting with a personal trainer to destroy any positive body image you might have had. I worry constantly about my body image, more than I worry about my actual body, mainly because my mother, and, for that matter, pretty much every woman in my life, has suffered her entire life from a negative self-image. My mother has paid out thousands to various businesses, so that they can sell her more information, more negativity, more crap than she knows what to do with, all of which tells her that she just needs to pay more money to be thin, without ever defining a healthy goal for her. Asking me, "well, how much weight would you like to lose?" makes me swallow back an angry, "none."
Would I like to be healthier? Yes. Lead a less-lethargic lifestyle? You bet; that's why I joined a gym, bucko. Look better naked? But of course.
But do I want to "lose weight?" Thanks, but not particularly.
Trainer: Well, what size do you wear now?
Trainer: What size would you like to be?
Me: (through gritted teeth): Ten?
Trainer: Let's really get serious about this... when was the last time you were an eight?
Me: When I was twelve.
In retrospect, he had some good points. I don't schedule my eating well. I rarely eat breakfast, and have a light lunch and a huge dinner. He insists this forces my body to store the food I do provide under the assumption that it doesn't know when the next meal will come. This makes sense. And I can't argue with the fact that I'm a lazy bum. Giving up the sports-centric lifestyle I've led my whole life has taken its toll. It's just that smarmy vibe that comes from anyone making their living off someone else's health. This was just a complimentary meeting, a "reward" for joining the gym, and facing the state of my health in any capacity always makes me feel like this. I know he can help me, and I know he didn't mean to make me feel "fat" or "sick," but he (or maybe just growing up through the eighties and nineties, watching my mother continuously dieting; being told lately that I have a "pudgy little belly" growing; watching E and MTV and the Victoria's Secret fashion show; feeling menstrual, stressed out from the move, and exhausted) did.
I have a husband for whom assembling a modular shelving design purchased in 46 separate boxes is not a chore, but the highlight of a week that includes the biggest turkey dinner East Greenbush has ever seen.
I love orange. Anything orange, I'll take it. I'll put it on a high shelf and worship it in my orange shrine. I'll surround it with other happy little orange things, so it can feel the joy of the orange community. Hence, it's taken me a while to show any real interest in redesigning my (quite orange, you will note) website. I dread deserting Blogger; I so rarely find a company with such a nice orange logo. The only colors that come close to making me as happy as orange are taxicab yellow and sportscar red.
Years ago, when the time came to decorate a particularly beige bathroom in a peculiarly vanilla apartment, my mind naturally drifted to orange. Trouble was, there were no orange towels to be found. Anywhere! Really, try it sometime. Go to a store, any store with a linens department, and scan the racks... no orange! Melon, maybe. Seashell, to be sure. Coral? Of course. But never, never orange.
Until Ikea. A few days before the big move, we paid a preventative visit to Ikea. It was with a nod toward furnishing the apartment we'd seen but once, with dimensions we'd neglected to note, and a color scheme we'd never seen while blinded by the sheer giganticism of the place. We searched couches (blech.), beds (bah.), and dining decor (don't think so.), and concluded we'd outgrown the Scandanavian ways of our youth. Until we entered the cursed Marketplace, and began loading up the giant plastic bag with items of varying utility.
And then! In the corner! There! they! were!
At long last, my orange towels. With a pleading glance at Marc (more of a mauve man, truth be told), I rushed toward them. They were a little rougher than I'd hoped, with a ribby surface instead of the plush finish I'd imagined, but they were unabashedly, unapologetically, undeniably orange. Almost orange and a half. 110% orange, at least.
Which was a good thing, because they have proceeded to spew lint over half of the apartment. I've already washed them several times, and yet it continues. In fact, just now, in a mistake of creative laundry sorting, they managed to take the lives of both of my favorite wool mittens. A matching set, once of powder blue with cute hand-knotted red yarn bows, they now have an overfuzz of reddish orange that will have to be hand-picked away. Such is the price we pay for the ass-kick-orange bathroom I've always wanted.
I just left the apartment alone for the first time in two days. I was nearly broadsided by a light blue pickup truck as I turned left onto Route 1. He was running a red light and I didn't bother double checking the intersection because I was being blinded by the sun. He didn't even swerve. He just kept right on going in the left lane, completely oblivious to the situation. I turned into Dunkin Donuts instead of pulling up alongside him at the next light, because I knew my New York plates would have left me obliged to give him the hand.
If you've ever been a NY driver or encountered an angry one, I'm sure you know of the hand. It lies somewhere between a flip of the bird and a smack upside the head. It's the most powerful weapon in an urban driver's arsenal (I've been known to avoid eye contact, just to prevent transference of the hand), and as such it appears rarely. In certain circumstances, however, its use is unavoidable. Beware the New Yorker bearing the hand.
Venus razor blades fit into the Mach 3 handle, and vice-versa.
It's true, things have slowed down around here. The arrival of broadband, cable (mostly TLC, HGTV, Discovery, and the 7 omnipresent MTVs), a comfy futon and the complete unpacking of the kitchen have led me to a state of loungey lethargy. The main problem at this point is that, while the apartment is huge, we just have so many small things. Things that need shelves and drawers and cubby holes that just aren't available. Yet.
But we've got a plan. A monolithic structure of Ikeac proportion will be built, lightly sanded with a warm honey finish and a protective coat of varnish, with attractive wrought detailing and fine Scandanavian craftsmanship. We moved out of the city so we could justify buying a truck so we could go back to the city so we could buy Ikea furniture and actually be able to transport it out of the city, or something like that.
We're building, in the post-college, pre-grown-up way that only a couple of twenty-somethings legitimately can: with an allen wrench, an offering to Sven, the god of cross-supports, a poorly translated instruction sheet, and, hopefully, not too many left-over parts.
Futon curiously tall.
Futon first opportunity for multiple-sitter type sitting since, oh, I don't know, March-time.
Futon interim living room solution until couch and chair delivered. Then futon part of (hopefully) complementary furniture set.
Futon kicking ass out of sitting on broken Ikea chair.
We're here, finally. The movers, despite my efforts to screen, were more than slightly impaired. They completely misjudged the amount of stuff we have and it took them an extra trip with a van to finish the job. Actually, it was hardly that simple... but after much yelling ensued, our belongings were reunited.
Last week was incredibly busy. We have CT drivers' licenses. We have broadband. We have about 70% of our belongings either unpacked or in the general vicinity of where they belong. Marc made the observation that if we got rid of all of our books and CDs/cassettes/videos, we would have about half as much stuff. Our kitchen is incredibly well organized, thanks to me. Furniture (real grown-up type furniture! A couch! A chair! A dining room table! A futon! A new bed!) has been ordered and is in transit. We bought Marc his very own Subaru Forrester. (I'll stick with the Seven for now.) We've even traveled to Albany and back, testing out the all-wheel-drive in a bitter ice storm, all to see my brother play M. Jacques in Moliere's "The Miser."
Now, finally, it's Sunday night and we're beginning to settle down. We've just returned from Mystic Pizza and we're getting ready to watch The Sopranos on our cable-enabled TV. We caught last week's episode on Wednesday night; holy crap. Thank goodness we're finally rid of you-know-who.
There's so much more to say. I'm feeling pretty good. This is just a start.
We're packing. I swear. Anyway, before we go, here are some new pictures I've just uploaded. Mom's retirement bash! Crafty ladies make marble magnets and cheesy pumpkin goody bags! Halloween at the nursery school! The NYC marathon! That'll keep 'em occupied, I say.
Marc says they are too big. Are they? Are you seriously still using dial-up internet service? They take, like, two fractions of a second, now, on DSL.
The movers will be here soon. We had one last NY Italian dinner last night, then headed to Remote Lounge for an anonymous goodbye to the faces of this fair city. On one hand, I will miss being a New Yorker (again), but on the other hand I can't wait to get the hell out of here. I'm not sure if the nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach is because we're both now unemployed, because we've been stirring up the dust in here for the last hour, or because I haven't eaten anything yet today. In any case, things will be quiet around here until Tuesday, when we're scheduled for the cable modem hookup. Already we will be reaping the benefits of rural living -- the cable guy could have come even earlier, but we had to put off the appointment because he was available before we would even move in. Average hookup delay in NYC: about 1 month. See you sooner.
I get a surprising number of hits on this site from people apparently looking for this post, "you know you're from the capital district when...". Well, I know my audience, so allow me to now present (yet another e-mail copied and pasted from my dad) this even-better list:
You know you're from upstate New York if:
1. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.
2. "Vacation" means going to Lake George for the weekend.
3. You measure distance in hours.
4. You know several people who have hit deer more than once.
5. You often switch from "Heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
6. You use a down comforter in the summer.
7. Your grandparents drive at 65 mph through 13 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching.
8. You see people wearing hunting clothes at social events.
9. You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
10. You think of the major food groups as deer meat, beer, fish, and berries.
11. You carry jumper cables in your car and your girl-friend knows how to use them.
12. There are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at the Stewarts at any given time.
13. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
14. Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
15. You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and flannel pajamas.
16. You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, construction.
17. It takes you 3 hours to go to the store for one item even when you're in a rush because you have to stop and talk to everyone in town.
I don't readily drop the band info into conversation, you know. Some folks seem to think that bandliness is next to godliness, and I really don't want to be mistaken for one of those people, you know. There's more to me than just my talent, you know. There's so much more. Honestly, you think you know, but you have no idea.
The first band was called Street Beat. We were alternately known in some circles as Street Beet, depending on who assembled the press package. We had a brisk, poppy sound, and our lyrics were replete with references to the toys we wanted for Christmas (I was hoping for my two front teeth; my cousin Brian just wanted a harmonica), the power of love and how we desperately needed to get back in time. Yes, we were a cover band, and our instruments might have just been old wood from my uncle's garage, but we painted frets on those boards and decorated them with sequins and yarn from my grandmother's sewing box. As you may have deduced, we had only two records to lip sync to, but my cousin's house had an outdoor power outlet and we would blast those two records far and wide, set up staging out near the street and wait for "traffic" to drive past. Once, a driver threw a tennis ball at us as he passed. We fought over that ball for three hours.
Next there was the Bloomingdale Bombers, actually just the next generation of Street Beat, formed when Brian and his sister Kristy moved further down the street and decided they didn't want to play with me or my brother any longer. Our sound was lighter, more "easy listening." This was because my cousin owned the record player and all Matt and I had was a battery-powered radio with the dial stuck on my parents' station.
I left the Bloomingdale Bombers for personal reasons. I won't get into them here, but I will mention that there are no lingering feelings of animosity among former members of either the Bombers or the Beat. In fact, we look back on those years fondly, except for the question of who ultimately wound up taking the tennis ball home. My musical career wandered a bit, through years of piano lessons and a brief, embarrassing stint with an actual guitar, crafted in Korea of the finest polycarbonate/ABS blend. Then there were the H years, and my time spent with Alternachiquita (AKA Big Ass Funky Girl Band, a name we dropped after noticing the ambiguity regarding the actual sizes of our asses), a band crafted from the "hype first, play later" school of music. I don't remember much about the 'chiquita, or maybe I'm just blocking out that cover of Rock Lobster.
Full story here. "New York's comic book alter-ego Gotham has its Dark Knight in Batman, but it turns out the real city has its own caped crusader. Lotharios everywhere, beware, because Terrifica, scarlet-costumed avenger and protector of women, is on the prowl on the city's party scene."
But the character I'm really interested in is Fantastico, Terrifica's arch-enemy. Ladies, look alive!
Note: I fixed the link.
I seem to have developed a minor digestive allergy to (wait for it) alcohol. It's the common thread in three recent bouts of gastrically distressful nights. Today (yesterday) was Marc's birthday. We were supposed to go to his parents' house for a special dinner and cake, but then his sister came down with mono, so we decided to cancel. So the extended in-laws and we headed to the only hip restaurant in the Bronx, Tosca, where I helped myself to a complimentary apple martini (Marc's cousin is a waitress there and knows the bartender). And now, here I am.
Does anyone ever successfully execute an amicable departure from their job? When I quit back in March, everything was all, "what can we do to keep you?" and "let us know if you need anything," for about a day. Then it was more like, "what exactly are you accusing us of?" and "I don't really think we should have any more contact after you leave." This made for a pleasant final three weeks, as you may remember, during which I would cry myself to sleep and spend my days in a sullen stupor until the whole deal finally culminated with a forced, somber farewell party with a couple of sincere friends, a few professional acquaintances, and a bitter, evil, former boss who croaked out some quasi-enthusiastic compliments when pestered for a speech as jaws around the room dropped. After all that, I managed to leave with a smile on my closed mouth and my dignity intact.
As Marc prepares to leave his job, I see the same thing happening. He's on the phone for hours at a time, defending his professionalism and ethics, and I just want to grab the phone and protect my husband, screaming into the phone on his behalf, "do you have any idea who you're speaking to? This is the most sensitive man you will ever have the pleasure of working with. He sat up nights wondering if this or that was the right thing to do and the right way to do it." Marc made his own professional contacts and has executed a deal independent of his former employer. And while that's precisely the sort of employee that it sucks to lose, his courage has made him fierce and I don't see him caving in to these ridiculous accusations, not any time soon, anyway. He may be sensitive, but he's not exactly the sort to cry himself to sleep at night.
It's all coming together. We were approved for the apartment (not a simple task, since we will both be technically unemployed when we move). I think I've finally identified a legitimate mover (not a simple task, since they all seem to be whacked-out scam artists around here). We finally made a dent in the thank-you note mountain (not a simple task, since we're both, um... whacked-out scam artists).
Now, if only I could manage the simpler stuff, like not scheduling hair appointments for when I'm actually supposed to be working... for my mother-in-law...
I totally forgot that she asked me to work this morning until late last night. Is my Halloween costume finished? No. As a result, I will be a chef today, and a bat tomorrow. Luckily, I've got the chef hat and apron just kicking around. Yeah, I'm that kinda wife.
I'm so messed up about this whole daylight savings time business. My other half has changed all the clocks, so it's not that... I've just lost all concept of what time it should be. Like right now, it's pitch black out, and I only realized thanks to the Channel 7 TrafficCam. Sunday was the longest day of my life. And my watch is doing something weird, something like advancing five-seconds at a time.
Incidentally, if you're all homesick for NY, I wouldn't recommend clicking the traffic link. You'll totally tear up.
When I was seven, I could finish Atari Adventure with my eyes actually shut. (This is the real reason I still read Metafilter.)
I have a phobia about vomiting. I know what you're probably thinking, and you're right, this doesn't bode well for my frequent tendency to vomit. First of all, I'm not good at the actual act of retching. What I am very good at is lying miserably still in bed, praying for respite from my discomfort, and in the process prolonging the bellyache. I just can't initiate. I can't, er, bring it up. I also can't fake-burp, and I'm pretty sure the two go hand-in-hand. And to add misery to misfortune, I can't do it in a toilet. There's something so awful about the walk to the bathroom, kneeling on the cold tile, hanging my head where my ass should go, and waiting for the rain. So I arrange for the presence of a bucket, or a garbage can, whatever, with a double-bag, placed bedside whenever I retire with a burning belly. And when it finally comes, I am snuggled from the waist down under my blankets, and I never miss the target, but it isn't a pretty sight. I vomit with my entire body. I puke from the mouth and the nose, and I weep. If I've been specially attentive, I've procured a box of tissues and a glass of water ahead of time.
A Hard Know to Think is moving to http://punkly.com/know. See you there in five minutes!
(Please update your bookmarks... I don't know how long this blogspot site will be around.)
I don't know if you noticed, but Halloween is coming up pretty soon. Here in New York, Halloween has a different name, and that name is October. The freaks have got their, um, freak on, and have been parading around for weeks. Maybe this contributes to the excitement in my classes, I don't know. Maybe it's the way that their parents have been promising them an unlimited supply of candy for just one day. Whatever is driving these children to harbor such manic urgency about the upcoming holiday, I want to get me some.
I can't mention anything remotely Halloweeny (bats, witches, ghosts, the color orange...) without several children screaming back at me. These are good kids, normally quiet and reserved, patient, sharing, and kind. When it comes to Halloween, however, they are like rampaging elephants in a crystal factory. Next Wednesday and Thursday at the school are not going to be pretty.
I worked three "full" days this week, and I am exhausted.
But not too tired to take a moment to wish Nicholas a happy birthday. I would like to chime in with Marc here and say that Nick is a great guy. An all-around super brother-in-law. He really does have everything. He's a successful architect, a social butterfly, and he's funny like a John Cusack movie. And, ladies, batten the hatches, he's single! If you're in the New York area and you're interested in meeting this handsome bachelor, just let me (or Marc) know. You must be stunning, confident, and a laugh riot. And since I know most of my readers fit these three categories, I figured this was a good place to advertise.
Just before Columbus Day, we tried to teach the kids at the nursery school about Christopher Columbus and his three ships. The emphasis was on Columbus' bravery, his importance to the history of the United States, and, since we live in a predominantly Italian neighborhood, his ethnic background.
To illustrate the mechanics of "sailing," we had the kids build little boats by sticking a coffee stirrer into a bar of Ivory soap and affixing a construction paper "sail." We created a miniature "ocean" using giant plastic tubs that we filled with water. The kids put the boats in the water and blew on the sails to send them across the ocean.
Of course, giant plastic tubs, when placed in the context of a three-year-old mind, really do look like oceans, and their hands, arms, and faces represent giant monster appendages just ripe for the dunking. So we pushed up sleeves, stepped back, and let them have at it.
While they were splashing around, we provided various examples of "obstructions" that Columbus may have encountered during his sail, such as rocks, ice (bergs) cubes, ... wadded up paper towels... orange candles... crayons... pretty much anything that wasn't nailed down. This gave us a great opportunity to discuss with the children the concept of density, or relative water displacement. Do you think the rocks will sink? was followed by a resounding chorus of YES and a couple of timid NOs.
During the morning session, I was lucky enough to be teaching in the adjoining room, and was privy to dialogue led by my (genius, seriously) cousin who was "in charge" of the lesson:
Teacher: So, which do you think is more dense? The rock? Or the candle?
Children: THE CANDLE
Children: THE ROCK
Teacher: That's right! That's because the ratio of the mass to the volume of the rock is greater than that ratio in the candle. Understand?
Children: HEY, THIS ROCK FLOATS! HA HA! LOOK AT THIS FLOATING ROCK!
Teacher: That's because that rock has air bubbles inside, effectively removing some of the mass. It is less dense than the other rocks.
During the afternoon session, however, I was switched to the (now completely waterlogged) "ocean room" to lead the lesson for the second group of kids.
Kate: So, which do you think will float? The rock? Or the candle?
Children: THE CANDLE
Children: THE ROCK
Kate: That's right! That's because I got this special floating rock from the moon. Most rocks will sink, but I brought back this special floating rock just for you guys.
Children: YOU'VE NEVER BEEN TO THE MOON!
Kate: Then explain to me how this rock floats, smarty-pants! (with that, I dropped the rock in the water and watched as their faces lit up.)
Children: WOW! I WANT TO PLAY WITH THE MOON ROCK! GIVE ME THE MOON ROCK! CAN I SEE THE MOON ROCK NOW?
Which teaching method is better? You be the judge. Personally, I think a three-year-old is a lot more likely to remember that most rocks usually sink in the context of their teacher's moon rock not sinking, but maybe I'm wrong and a more complex definition of relative density was the way to go.
One of the more pressing jobs on my to-do list is finding movers. We're springing for the cost of movers because we're both so sick of relocating that we can hardly stand to discuss the actual details of the job. And since I'm supposedly the world's worst packer (what's wrong with packing books in a box meant for dishes?), we're going all out and hiring packers, too. This gives us the additional luxury of living this relatively calm lifestyle until the last minute, without having to add to the box-farm that we're already cultivating in the living room.
Is there something seedy about movers? A few burly men show up at your house, early in the morning, remove all of your possessions, pack them into a big truck, and drive away. You stay behind and sweep up, pack up your unmentionables and your aerosol cans, jam them into your tiny trunk, and hope against hope that when you arrive at your destination, those same burly men will be there with your same burly pile of worldly goods. My last roommate lost a desk chair in a move. How do you lose a whole desk chair? Yes, there is something decidedly seedy about the entire process.
So I called three moving companies just now. One is in Brooklyn, and guarantees their estimate. This is an option I was specifically seeking, since my last moving bill came to about 1.8 times the estimated cost. (My movers also appeared lacking the knowledge that they had also been hired to pack -- but that's an even sadder story.) They'll call me back tommorrow to arrange a time to come for the estimate.
The second was recommended by some of Marc's co-workers, and sports nothing but a Westchester area code and voicemail. I may never hear from them again. We'll see.
The third I found in the phone book. The intriguing, androgenously-named "Helen and Sons" specializes in domestic-abuse moves and offers discounts to senior citizens and veterans. I was told, hastily and via speakerphone, that a pack and move for a one-bedroom apartment, Bronx to Connecticut, will run me $580 (about one-fifth the cost I expected). Period. "No visit required?" asked I... "Nope, $580," replied Helen, or his son.
I don't know what I'll do. I guess I'll wait to hear from the other two, or at least the first one, and see if their estimates are even in the same ballpark.
I'm still trying to learn the spousal lingo, but who knew I'm going to work on the bills meant I'll be under the covers in the dark...? It's been a stressful week around here, and he does need some sleep, but I'm totally going to wake him up in a few minutes. He can sleep over the weekend.
I can finally stop being all playful and coy, and just put it out there: We are moving to Groton, Connecticut.
Marc's leaving his consulting company, and becoming an independent consultant. He's been working for his old boss for more than 5 years, so we wanted to make sure he didn't find out from anyone other than Marc. That's why I haven't been able to post about it, just in case. The link to our photos floats around (they are mostly here) and he could potentially (if he was really nosy) have wandered his way over here.
We'll be leaving New York, sadly, around November 15th. We applied for an apartment in Groton last weekend, and we should know this week if we've got it. It's the kind of apartment I've lived in several times over the last almost-ten years or so, and the kind of apartment that I always say I'll never live in again. But this time, it's in a place where we can actually afford to have more than just the teeniest-weeniest ground-floor hovel. And it's just for a year, after which we plan to buy something, somewhere, maybe, if we like it there. Otherwise we'll pack it up and move on again.
Will I work there? Who knows. Options include a nuclear submarine plant (no thanks), a pharmaceutical plant (can you say carpool?), and some other equally possible but not likely scenarios. I plan to look, but I don't know what I'll do. Design jobs will be hard to come by, I think. I'm considering getting certified to teach Math or Science (or maybe just Pre-K). Connecticut has a program where you can obtain your certification without getting a Master's degree, if you've already worked.
I'm not making it sound too great, but the truth is, I'm really excited about going. It will be nice to spread out in our gigantic apartment, see stars, hang around with suburbanites, and get that feeling of release that comes from moving out of New York City. I love that feeling, even though I love living here. I also love that the last time Marc and I shopped for an apartment together, we were defying our parents and looking for the cheapest two-bedroom in the East Village. This time, instead of accomodating our roommate Andrew in the spare room, we'll be housing visiting parents... take that!
There is an event. Visualize a fire truck passing on the street. The lights are flashing, but the siren is silent. You (you are our protagonist, for now) face away from the street, toward a window. It is night. The window is reflective. The facade of the building catches the light from the truck. The image of your face is reflected in the window.
a) turn around and look at the fire truck?
b) watch the reflection of the truck passing?
c) watch the reflection of your face as the truck passes?
d) look away, watch your shoes or the bushes, etc.?
We'll see if Marc is brave enough to wear his Realtors Suck tee shirt tomorrow as we go apartment hunting.
I can't say anything else about that now. Except that he says the shirt is dirty, which sounds like a convenient excuse. Wouldn't a punk wear a dirty shirt? He is also standing next to me now.
2 excerpts from an old journal, inspired by Sarah B.:
1-31-91 Moral question:
Now that I'm mad at S., should I ask her for the $3.00 that she has owed to me for 3 months?
"Excuse me, S., woud you bring in the $3.00 that you owe me because after this, I only plan to speak to you in dire emergencies, like, if the school was burning down and you were trapped inside, and even then, I'm not sure I'd help you because that would be like seeing you rot in hell, which is exactly what would fulfill my fantasies, but anyway, I wouldn't want you to forget or anything, because then it would be like I was giving you money, which would really be awful." (pause for breath.) "By the way, I'd like it soon, because I might want to do something with my real friends."
1-15-91 In an hour and a half:
President George Bush is going to declare war upon Iraq.
There's something about a man who'll drag himself out of bed at 5 AM to swat a mosquito and present the bloody evidence of success to his wife, who is cowering under the covers, trying to perfect a hermetic seal around her bite-prone body.
I keep feeling like I can look up the future on the internet. Like, a search on Google for "Maryland shootings" should bring up the identity of the sniper. Or, "Iraq threat to U.S. nuclear" should let me know if Iraq is a real threat to the United States. Or, "bad haircut Kate 2002" should let me know if I'm going to look back on these days and wonder what I was thinking (I'm in the middle of an awkward phase).
Have you ever signed a non-disclosure agreement? Do you remember the terms? How about a non-compete clause? I was recently handed a contract to read over for a friend, and it contained both. At my last job, I signed an agreement regarding the ownership of my intellectual property without thinking too much about it, and then pretty much forgot about the whole thing until I started reading stories of part-time writers being fired left and right for having weblogs with silly stories about their co-workers. As far as the non-compete clause goes, I think it's a pretty tough thing to require of an engineer. There's not much hope of advancement within the technical departments of many small companies, so people end up moving up by moving on. What do you think?
me: Okay, we're going to color some pictures of words that start with G!
child: Oh, ugh! Do we have to?! I'm so so tired!
me: What? Come on, why are you so tired?
child: My new baby sister is nocturnal.
I like it. Also, I knew that page was meant for me as soon as I saw the file name.
"It's like... I dropped my ice cream cone. And then you picked it up, and stabbed me in the back."
me: Bats are nocturnal. Who knows what nocturnal means?
child: Well, I know it's not a turtle. It's a bat.
1. Try to get paintbrushes that are all the same color. Children will not believe that the color of the handle will not make a difference. And they will all want the pink one.
2. That little girl with the look of Lucifer in her eye? She is going to dump the dirty water. Then she's going to paint the wall. Finally, she is going to attempt to paint you.
3. Yellow paint will stain your cuticles. Green and blue will stain them worse. All of the colors mixed together will create the worst stains of all.
4. Blot the painting before you hang it to dry, unless you like the spattered look on your floors as well as its aftermath as it is tracked happily through the room.
5. When washing the children after painting, be sure not to neglect their arms, faces, ears, necks, legs, feet, and stomachs, as the presence of paint in some of these locations will be more difficult to explain to the parents.
My two-year-old niece learned how to say my name before my husband's, his brother's, or any of the names of her other aunts or uncles except for two. Jealousy reigns. To be fair, it sounds more like "Tate," but the last T is emphatically present and accounted for, and we heard it at least 20 times, very clearly, during last night's visit. To paraphrase Lester Burnham: She's the niece I've always wanted, and now I've got her. I RULE!
Last weekend Marc and I joined the other Marc and some other Bronx Science recoverees for Spirited Away (that link has sound, FYI). Once I got past the fact that the audience reminded me of a hipster graphic novel convention, the movie was hauntingly wonderful. The Japanimation thing isn't really my scene, so I can't really vouch for how it compares to other films of a similar genre, but according to the website, it was the most successful film in the history of Japanese cinema, so, you know, it would probably fare pretty well compared to all those other movies. I was totally sucked in, and haven't really been able to get it out of my mind. It was beautiful, in that slightly-fantastic-yet-realistic way, and the story was completely engaging. A young girl, Chihiro, and her family get lost while searching for their new house in a new community, and happen upon an ancient Shinto shrine slash bath house to the gods. I think I lost a little bit of the story for not knowing the cultural significance of a lot of the god characters, but that didn't keep me from getting wrapped up in Chihiro's plight as she fought to save her parents (who are turned to pigs for their gluttony) from the evil sorceress who runs the bathhouse and runs the fantastic other-world environment. Highly recommended.
The monkey island we never got to see. Our tour guide never showed up.
When we watched Say Anything on DVD last weekend, Marc commented that the scene where Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is teaching Diane Court (Ione Skye) to drive stick, and they decide to switch places, and instead of getting out of the car, they climb over each other in the middle, was the most erotic scene he had ever seen. In the Director's commentary (with Director Cameron Crowe joined by Cusack and Skye), Skye comments that if the two actors hadn't been dating other people (Cusack had supposedly just "fallen in love," I'm guessing maybe with Lili Taylor??, and Skye was solidly in with Anthony Kiedis at the time), that would have been the night that they'd have gone home together.
Of course, throughout the rest of the commentary, as Crowe and Cusack talk about how brilliant they are, Skye spends most of the time gasping and exclaiming, "Uh! That is so great!" Once in a while, and I think you can imagine the Cusackian glances they're giving her, one or the other of the men throws in a, "and there's the beautiful Ione again..."
Here's a great little snippet of conversation where they try to engage her...
CC: How did you prepare for this, Ione?
IS: Just... I really, you know, I just... isolated, you know, I... uh... I just, you know, I really just, uh... focused. I mean, I knew, this was it, this was the big...
She is then, mercifully, cut off.
1. If I ever do a book tour (and I think I shall, yo, right after I, um... write the book...), I'm cutting the 92nd St. Y right out of the agenda. Sure, the Kaufmann Concert Hall (which I've come to think of as the Blah Blah Auditorium) is swanky and boasts a glowy blue curtain and charmingly random name-dropping along the crown of the room (Ex.: David Moses Einstein), but it's really not the scene I'm going for. If I'm planning a thoroughly degrading kiss-up to this bitch of a city and know that my patrons are coughing up the dough for my "evening with the author," I'm heading straight for either a) Cooper Union's Great Hall (in which case I'd arrange for an accompanying art exhibit prepared entirely by engineering students, but that's really a whole other dream I can tell you about later), b) the auditorium at Washington Irving High School, c) the Beacon Theater, or d) the Metropolitan Museum of Art roof garden. Got it? See you there.
2. When I get there, there's clearly no better choice for Author Introducer (although I suppose it's of dubious necessity since shouldn't a "writer" be able to come up with something clever along the lines of self-introduction?) than the soon-to-be esteemed American novelist, Tony. This became increasingly obvious as we both stifled giggles during the weak back-of-the-book introduction by some graying head of a department from, you guessed it, Princeton University. Incidentally, everything Tony mentioned -- also true.
3. Not only is it not uncool to bring multiple books for the author to sign, it seems to be imperative. I brought two and handed one off to Marc, figuring I wouldn't mind if my copy of The Red Notebook was signed with something clever like, "To Marc, who actually carries a red notebook everywhere he goes, including to my signing, although he refuses to take it out of his bag (you silly boy): It's brilliant to witness this kind of zest for life emanating from a true New Yorker. From one city boy to another. I'll always cherish this moment. Yours, Paul Auster," while my copy of The Book of Illusions would be signed with something along the lines of, "Kate, oh Kate, thank you for bringing your own pencil. That was clever in the most indulgent way. Please don't steal my legions of fans. Couldn't we share? Remember me when we are old... Fondly, Paul Auster." Luckily for the two-hundred people in front of us in line, who seemed to be carrying at least six books each, all anyone seemed to get was a hasty "Paul Auster," incidentally signed with a pen he told me was (I'm paraphrasing) "just fine... I found it on the floor," when I offered up my pencil. I was planning to give him a bookmark I made with the word integrity scrawled across the top, but I suddenly second-guessed myself and hid it in my palm as I reclaimed the book he proffered. I say luckily, of course, because I've heard that an undesignated autograph is more valuable on ebay than a personalized message. Well, Mr. Auster, you've selected your storefront carefully.
4. How can an entire Burritoville just disappear? My first reaction before last night would have been: Does the fact that Burritoville is gone mean that it was never there to begin with? But now I just think the building was torn down. Do you see, Mr. Auster? You're ruining tomorrow's literati.
I'm an assistant nursery school teacher. Marc's mother owns the school, so I'm less an "employee," more a "recipient of piteous compliments." Today we learned the letter C, as in cat, cookie, and Kate. Well, we had to unlearn 'em that last one, but it sounds so much like cake, they were pretty resolved (in fact I am now known selectively as "Miss Cake..."). We also learned about autumn, the time of year when the leaves change color and fall off of the trees, when little kids go back to school, and when, according to Joey, "the whole family goes to the thing and then they throw the thing at the thing and then they win! ...Is it time to paint now?" This, of course, causes an eruption of declarations like, "My family goes to the church, and then we put the dog in its cage!" And: "Miss Kate! Miss Kate! I have a dog and it peed on the floor!"
I can't think of a better way to spend twelve hours a week.
Tonight I'm meeting Marc and Tony at the Y to see Paul Auster, my favorite writer. I read his most recent offering, The Book of Illusions, while we were in Puerto Rico. It's about a man who spends his time trying to distract himself from unfortunate events passed by becoming completely absorbed in the life and films of a silent films actor who vanished decades earlier. Auster's written several haunting novels featuring New York City prominently, and I've thoroughly enjoyed everything I've read by him. I'm pretty excited and I'm wondering if it's uncouth to carry three novels with me for him to sign...
Well, I just finished my first half-day of nursery school. Today I learned how to cover my mouth when I cough, how to sing the alphabet (several times, REALLY LOUDLY), and then we read a book about Peter Pan. I got paid. Just when I was thinking that nursery school is a whole lot better the second time around, some three-year-old told me she was going to kick my ass. So really, it's not all that different from Engineering, except that the metaphors by which I used to live have now all been realized.
Oh yeah, I have a job again.
I just saw a commercial for Ragu Rich and Meaty, and I actually heaved a little. It's meat, in a jar. Not just that -- according to the link, Ragu Rich and Meaty has more meat per jar than any other leading brand of pasta sauce. So, er... bonus.
I owned a pair of Dwayne Wayne glasses, circa 1988. Everything I needed to know about college, I learned from A Different World. And truth be told, Denise Huxtable had the big hair I always wanted.
In response to the most recent round of questioning, we'll probably be in New York through October. No, we still don't know "and then what?" We would both like to stay in New York City (optimally) or New York State (also great). Unfortunately, Marc's company doesn't really have any standing contacts here. About 60% of my possessions are still in boxes, a direct result of the fact that our departure date has been pushed back one month at a time since June. This is finally beginning to create noticable stress for both of us.
I'm back. I came down with some kind of flu in PR, which I attribute to the nasty blanket on the airplane. My sunning was not deterred, however, and so I am thoroughly orange, which is as close to tan as I get. I look like this girl, Maureen, who went to my high school and used to apply this look with a brush. Plus freckles, and lots of 'em. My throat is still sore, and New York is still hot. I'm also still caught up in the ridiculous little soap opera I alluded to in my (forgive me) expletive ridden post in August. Today I spilled the whole story to a good friend, who advised me (I think in summary) that everyone involved is being just a little bit silly, which, naturally, I knew all along, but neglected to treat as such. Unfortunately it's too late to sit everyone down and warn them, and so I'm stewing, looking for a better solution or some kind of magical dissolution of the problem. As a result, I'm back, but I guess I can't say I'm really back.
The authorities are on to us. We're going to have to disappear for a while. We'll be back on Sept. 15th, just in time for The Sopranos' season premiere. Even the man can't keep the family down.
But don't fret! I'm leaving plenty of stuff for you to check out:
1. Some new weblogs I've been reading recently.
My friend Joe is always willing to put his ass on the line for a cause. He once called me his intellectual nemesis, so, you know, if you hate what I have to say, chances are you'll love him. Don't get too close, though. He sweats.
Marc's truth page, the weblog that eats itself for dinner. Go check it out, and then post a truth yourself. Remember, the people have the power. Or so I hear. This is not a guaranteed truth.
Mark and Marjorie are just looking for work somewhere other than here. Do you know someone in a foreign land that could hook them up, yo? Go let them know.
As always, I think everyone I link over there (<---) has something worth reading, so if the boredom is totally overcoming you, that's a good place to start.
2. Pictures aplenty! Karen gave us a huge memory card as a wedding gift, and lest she think it's been collecting dust, we've finally gotten around to posting a big ol' bunch of stuff on our brand new webpage, punkly.com. Check out our honeymoon! Or Erik's going-away party! Or our trip to Penn State! Or our big trip to New Mexico!
Truth be told, we're off to my parents' house for the weekend, and then Marc's got a couple of weeks' worth of work in Puerto Rico. I'll be accompanying him so I can snooze on the beach and catch up on some reading. I'm pretty sure there will be no internet access anywhere near us anytime soon, so I'm taking a mini-hiatus, self-imposed. When we return, this weblog will be relocating, and more pictures will surely follow. Happy Labor Day, everybody! See you in mid-September!
One of the reasons high school was so terrible for me (bear with me, this is not an acne story) was because I have a huge fucking mouth. In real life, I rarely keep my opinions to myself, as it absolutely pains me to do so. Life is too short to shut up; that's been my motto. In high school, there were very few people who appreciated my adolescent candor, and as such, I spent four very lonely years harboring a disdain for pretty much everyone around me, and voicing it to whomever was sucker enough to listen.
Once I grew up a little and formed some not-quite-so severe opinions, and moved to Manhattan, and surrounded myself with left-leaning hipster intellectuals, and discovered the internet, and stopped reading Catcher In the Rye, I realized that everybody loves me as long as I'm on their side. That's the way it goes, and that's perfectly acceptable. Still, even now as a grown-up, among people I believe have, like me, grown past the stage where they feel it is necessary to convey a hurtful story to someone despite the fact that it will be nothing but hurtful, sometimes my huge fucking mouth comes back to bite me in the ass.
And I really hate that, because it makes me feel like a horrible insensitive person, which I'm really not -- really, candor and insensitivity do not go automatically hand-in-hand -- and it makes me just want to start keeping my mouth shut, because sometimes when you call someone on what they truly are, it's just not worth the trouble. And so, here I am, with shitty memories of high school (which I thought were gone for good, you know, lesson learned, let's move on) rushing through my head, wondering if it's worth undoing some grown-up damage I unwittingly caused.
As much as I continue to appreciate the way Avril Lavigne is rocking the look I sported in high school (ten years ago isn't retro yet, is it?), isn't it time for a new song to hit the airwaves? I keep hearing that she's a phenom that's destined to be around for a while, and yet this same Summer hit is starting to drift into Fall...
Today I am practicing something new, the Ab Grab, common in the aftermath of Ab Lab.
We're trying to shape up 'round these parts. For me, that meant Ab Lab at the gym (ow), followed by yoga (om). Later, Marc joined me for a run in Pelham Bay Park, the park where the ladies on the track smoke cigarettes and tote cups of Pepsi. With ice.
The exhaust on my car is at just the right frequency to trigger the warning blip on some cars' alarms. I like to think, as I drive past, that the other cars are cheering my car on. Go! Whee! Wow! Or just, Hi!
I remember being disappointed when my front baby teeth fell out, since the right one was the perfect fit for slipping into a plastic straw.
There is a Limp Bizkit CD on the rack. I'm not sure how long it's been there.
Marc did a great job of recapping our weekend here, which is great, because now I don't have to write the snarky version that probably would have hurt some feelings in the long run. It was actually a great weekend, jam-packed with fun adventures, but we both wound up last night with a vague feeling of yuckiness. He did forget to mention that he bought some snazzy new shoes. It might have been the first time ever that we agreed on the snazziness of some shoes. They are old-manly, in a good, wallabee kinda way. Now that I have said this, he will probably hate them. That's the way it goes.
I love San-x.
The webcam has moved here. More astute readers will appreciate the (as yet still in progress) implication of this statement.
The way I see it, you never get the chance to be excited about it. Right now in New York, we are in the midst of a breaking heat wave. And when it's 11 o'clock at night, and the temperature has dropped below 80°F for the first time in more than ten days, and you feel an honest-to-goodness breeze for the first time in god-knows-how-long, you've just got to take a moment and appreciate that the best is yet to come. Because it always is. Foggy morning, huh? I feel Fall coming, here.
Sleep tight, kids, and rest assured that I'll continue to write about the weather. The difference between daily highs of 91 and 88 is enough to keep me going for months, at least. And otherwise, things here are pretty much same-old.
I happen to think it's pretty cool that I don't have to dial the 1-718- to get, in this case, Brooklyn, but also Queens and Staten Island.
Gather round, girlies, and let Auntie Katie tell you a story.
Late November, while relaxing after Thanksgiving dinner, I was overwhelmed with the sudden urge to go find a dress. I don't know what brought on this urge, since I'd actually been really dreading the girly fluffy lacey white aspects of the wedding for all of the three days since the engagement. My mother, sensing a rare bonding opportunity, offered to take me browsing the following day. The idea was to see what I liked, try on a few options, gauge prices, inquire about the cost and leadtime required for alterations, and to return home, full of knowledge and ready for a battle that was sure to last many, many months.
Early the next day we headed out to the local bridal shop, where I tried on four gowns in my own personal mirrorspace, my mother wept, the shopkeeper spoke quietly with a thick Italian accent, and I was told that I was a size 16. Apparently, bridal gowns run a little small. The fourth gown was what they call it. I called Marc, told him I was standing in a bridal shop, looking at myself in a mirror wearing the dress I would be wearing when I married him, and he gulped, (I'd like to think that he, too, shed a little tear at this point) and told me to go ahead and buy it. I was already one step ahead of him, since the shop had informed me that my dress wouldn't actually arrive for 6-8 weeks. We hadn't set a date for the wedding yet, but we were thinking February(!) or so. By the way, the sample dresses I had actually tried on were something like a size 6, and were each held closed in back with a carefully pinned white washcloth. Very tasteful. (Oh yeah, here's the dress.)
I should mention that most of our wedding was planned like this: you like it? yup, you like it? yup. great, we'll take it. Fortunately, we have relatively affordable taste.
Now, the next obstacle was my mother's dress. Here we shed tears of a different sort. The following day (we were really beat from the first whirlwind gown experience and rewarded ourselves with hours of Trading Spaces and a good night's sleep before venturing back out) we enlisted my mother's friend, Barb, and headed to her favorite source for middle-aged formalwear, David's Bridal. When we walked in, I was overwhelmed. I could barely hear the receptionist as she asked if we needed help. Fortunately, Barb was quick on her feet and told her we wouldn't be buying anything that day. Thereafter we were ignored.
Oh dear, sweet, Jesus. I am a big fan of Target. And I frequent Joann's Fabric as much as the next home-crafter. But a bridal superstore? That was too much. It was brides on parade, my friends, as float after float of layers and layers of satinesque, tulline, silkette, and pearlish sashayed past whimpering mothers, checkbooks in hand. I watched as "Bridal Consultants" perched tangles of veil atop cherry red faces and fluffed their cascading wares over fat backs crammed into sausage-casing gowns. "You look gorgeous." "This is the one." "You look like a dream." David's wasn't selling gowns, they were selling beauty. Well actually, it was more like they were selling beautiescent, or beautiesque. Closer examination revealed pulled threads, loose beads, splitting seams and ragged hemlines. Again, these were just sample gowns, but I was beginning to grow suspicious.
My mother, while I ogled the bridal three-ring of mirrors, had chosen three tastefully understated gowns for herself from the Mother of the Bride section. We proceeded to the "fitting corral," where we helped ourselves to a dressing room. I went in to assist my mother, and Barb held the (broken) door. My mother stripped, and then we heard a commotion outside. I heard Barb say, in her teacher voice, "But there's someone in there!" The door opened. My mother screamed. A store attendant reached in, grabbed the two dresses that were still on their hangers, and announced, "THIS room is reserved for a BRIDE." There were about fifteen people milling around outside, and they all turned to look into the small room, where my mother stood in her undies, with me, holding her dress up for her to slip into.
I'd like to say that at this point I dug deep down within myself and stood up for my mother, shouting back at the woman, or perhaps grabbing the dresses back or clawing the woman's eyes out. But instead, I meekly asked, "Can she at least get dressed first?" and closed the door. My mother quickly threw her clothes back on, growing angrier and angrier... We left the fitting room and the attendant greeted us with this: "You can't just go into a fitting room on your own!" I turned and watched my mother slowly inhale, adjust the way her purse strap sat on her shoulder, straighten her back and lean forward menacingly: "I will never buy anything here!" She grabbed a brochure from my hand and tore it in half, dropping it on the floor. She stormed past me and Barb, and quickly headed for the door, announcing the entire way for anyone who cared to listen, "I don't know why anyone would shop here. What a miserable experience. What a bitch. I hate this kind of place. This is insane." At the door, she gave one last loud sigh and pushed her way outside. Barb and I were a few steps behind, and I made sure to throw the remaining brochures at the receptionist's desk on the way out.
I don't know if it's the worst thing they could have done, but it felt terrible at the time. I would encourage any bride-to-be to avoid the place like the plague, unless you're looking for a funny place to watch ugly dresses parade past on bodies they don't fit.
on the "recently updated" list on Blogger: We Sail Tonight For Singapore. No, not us. Them. Yesterday Marc told me about this article about a delicacy in Singapore: snakefish! Just look at that face. So cute I just want to eat it up?
When I lived in New Jersey, I kept a running list of what was keeping me there, as well as what was driving me away. The list of fair attributes was usually short, but convincing: Erik, rowing, cheap gas, tax-free clothing, and tomato pie. The other list was longer, and updated frequently: idiotic drivers, expensive real estate, my former boss, the cost of auto insurance, jughandle left-turns, shore traffic, and the lack of parking at the train station. Sometimes I like to revisit that list just to make absolutely certain that nothing would ever take me back there. Today I added a new item to the list of reasons to stay away: Anthrax detected in preliminary mailbox test. I've probably dropped mail in that box myself, having once lived "on a street adjoining the Princeton University campus". I know that this kind of risk exists everywhere, but I can't help but breathe a sigh of relief and notice the big smile on my new NY State driver's license.
I'm going out to play tonight, making my probationary debut, co-writing with Tony Hightower for the fifth Spontaneous Combustion show at Manhattan Theatre Source. Tony's agreed to let me latch on to his comedic genius for just two days, as we whip out a script by tomorrow. The show premieres Sunday, and closes Tuesday. If you're in town, and interested in a wacky and unpredictable evening of "theater," I suggest stopping by. Tony says the tickets are somewhat difficult to come by, so it probably wouldn't hurt to call first.
Turns out we have two circuits in this apartment. One that seems kitchen-based, including three kitchen outlets, the refrigerator, and, oddly, the outlet in the bedroom where we have plugged in the air conditioner. The other circuit includes everything else... everything. On Sunday night, we blew the everything-else outlet when Marc decided to vacuum the clippings from his haircut with the living-room air conditioner running. There was a click, and then darkness, but not silence, since the air conditioner in the bedroom and the refrigerator were still running... lucky us, since it was late and a convenient time for going to sleep anyway. We tried to rouse the homeowners downstairs so I could get some work done on the novel (I've pretty much written-off this week, incidentally. No pun intended.) but the sound of their own air conditioners had already lulled them off to sleep, I suppose. The next morning we woke them up and remedied the situation immediately.
This morning I decided to have some toast and coffee. Guess what? Goodbye kitchen power. The owners are on their way home from New Hampshire, so it's not like I'll be stuck forever, but I am a little worried about the refrigerator. Memo to self: deny the urge to operate efficiently when it comes to appliances. I got used to this mentality living in my parents' house, where they mainly occupy the space constructed (and wired) by my grandfather, who was not quite as handy as he thought. And lucky me, the toast was just dry enough to be palatable and the coffee had finished brewing. The only problem was the refrigerator, which I imagine to be quickly sucking in the returning humidity and heat, was holding the milk captive. I'm mainly worried about the five or six bottles of wine and champagne (gifts and memories from Marc's last birthday trip... there is, in particular, a bottle of peach champagne I'm sure I've built up beyond its potential) that I'd rather not cycle from cold to hot and back again, but my trepidation wasn't strong enough to keep me from liberating the milk.
Here's some up-to-date info on me.
I'm no longer Kate Mac... As of April 6th, I'm Kate C.
I'm married to a super man.
I'm 26 years old (some would say I act like I'm 50, but most people tell me I look younger).
I started blogging in March, 2001, just two days after being dumped on my birthday, while I was working my ass off as a mechanical engineer, feeling fat and lazy, discovering that I had GERD, and trying to find something new that would make me feel... something. Well, something other than a dull ache in the pit of my stomach. I didn't write about any of that.
I'm a self-absorbed emotional exhibitionist, but you won't find too much of that here. Well, okay, aside from weblogs being mainly designed for navel-gazing and the fact that the webcam is pointed at ME! ME! ME! The truth is, I save my best material for real life. Deal with it.
I was born in upstate New York, near Albany, and lived there until 1993, when I moved to Manhattan to attend Cooper Union. I studied homework evasion, disastrous relationships, drama (both sanctioned, as in, I acted with others in an organized fashion, and unsanctioned, as in, "oh, woe is me..."), garbage picking, NYC tourism, oh, and Mechanical Engineering.
After college I moved to Plainsboro, NJ, otherwise known as Plainsboring, to work for a medical device company in their Engineering group, doing product design and general troubleshooting. It was truly an enriching and rewarding job, but I can't say I'm sorry I jumped ship as the waters were beginning to flood the gunwhales. I left some good friends behind, but it was truly time to progress.
So, I'm a transplanted child of the suburbs, currently living in The Bronx, after finally having escaped the vicious grasp of New Jersey. I love it here (or should I say HEE-uh), but Marc is a consultant and so far we have always been "about two months away" from moving somewhere else so he can continue working to support my lifestyle of domestic engineering:
c) crafty endeavors
e) all of the above, and sometimes some errands, housework, and plotting ways to make money from home so that I'll never have to go back to work.
I'm also trying to write a novel, so far not very effectively.
If you know me in the live-action, hugging/smacking/drooling world, and you stumbled upon me here, feel free to poke around. If you don't know me, feel free to poke around anyway. Maybe even drop me a line to say hi sometime. It's a solitary lifestyle... I live for e-mail.
A couple of weeks ago, someone mentioned to me that residents of all five boroughs of New York City who had suffered from "bad air quality" as a result of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center were eligible to be reimbursed for the cost of a new air conditioner, HEPA vacuum, and/or air purifier. This is not true. It is true that if a resident of New York City had an air conditioner or air purifier that was damaged by dust or debris from the collapse, the resident may be eligible for reimbursement of the cost to repair or replace the unit.
So if you, like I, heard from someone, or saw a flyer, or heard an advertisement claiming that FEMA was giving away free air conditioners, sorry, but it's not true. The official statement on the rumor can be found here, on the FEMA website.
Luckily, the weather has cooled down significantly.
And speaking of signs, I've been toying with this Big Idea, sort of overmeditating on it to the point of paranoia, where, just when I get ready to say I'm doing it, or to actually begin doing it, something questionable happens. As in, I was ready to annouce it yesterday at brunch and a little piece of my huevos oaxaca lodged in my trachea and I started coughing and reconsidering. Or, as in, I was ready to actually sit down last night and get going, and a certain circuit breaker decided to give out on us thanks to a new air conditioner used in conjuction with a post-haircut vacuum cleaner (by the way, did you catch the hot married couple haircut action on the cam last night? hot hot hot!) and so I sat in the dark reconsidering. So, you can see that I'm clearly either cosmically doomed or irrationally suspicious.
I'm about to spit in the face of fate here, to lower my thumbs a little closer to the diamond grinder, to, I don't know, stick my post-nasal tongue toward the sparking live wire, whatever, I'm just going to say it, and if they find me here, poised over the keyboard, webcam marking the slow cooling of my lifeless body in neat 30-second intervals, well, then you'll know that it really wasn't meant to be, that the cosmos just had it out for me, that, well, you get the picture. And if you haven't already guessed from my sudden urge to embellish way beyond practicality, well, (here it is, wait for it!) I'm starting up with the novel again.
The new (free with DSL!) webcam lives here, at least temporarily.
It's Eddie's birthday, and I've got a stomach ache, so we came home early. Too bad, because now my friends are bowling without me! I must be starved for socialization, I actually put on makeup before leaving the house tonight, and I believe it was my excitement that brought on the indigestion. That, or the pierogi.
The mall is hopping. Brown clothes are everywhere and little kids in skorts and flip-flops are pushing their own strollers, drunk with the excitement of wearing socks again.
I'm becoming a person who rises early and sips coffee while reading the news. Then I dress in something I've selected for its claim of "mobility," and head to the gym for yoga or to work out. Then I have a nutritious lunch, work on my latest crafty project, or read. Vomit at will. I swear, something fascinating will come soon. These must be the lazy days of Summer of which I've heard tell.
I want to curl up under your chin
and let the humidity of your livelihood
condense on my forehead
trickle over my temples
and drip into my mouth.
Oh, only you, my own sun,
wavering on that high note
that vibrates near my second molar
and which you break with a flourish.
How do you beat the heat? Here are some ideas that have been working for me...
1. Movies. We've seen Minority Report and Lilo and Stitch. I would recommend Lilo and Stitch, but at a paltry 85 minutes, you're really better off with Tom Cruise (144 min). Some have claimed that the lengthy Minority Report is "muted" or "diluted". But at nearly twice the length, I call it air-conditioned goodness. You may even wish to consider bringing a sweater.
2. Gym. It's over 90° here again today. There is something called an ozone alert, which as far as I can tell means go inside and turn on your air conditioner, and don't come out until September. It doesn't mean you're more likely to get a sunburn (although I am), it means you'll be breathing ozone and then dying sooner. So my real bike stays shoved up against the wall downstairs with the front wheel removed, and I trek up to the gym in Scarsdale to ride the recumbant. An added bonus is showering in the air-conditioned locker room.
3. Showers. I'm averaging 7 or 8 per day. In fact I've gotten up twice to shower while typing this. While I lived at Knot Square (my 180-year old house with no A/C), I patented the ultra-refreshing Nox-shower, wherein the entire body is left cooled by the tingling power of Noxema. If you're really serious, you'll dust yourself with Gold Bond medicated powder when you're finished. Lately I'm in the shower so much, that I frequently don't, er, have the shower all to myself. Use extreme caution in this situation. Showering with a guest will diminish the shower's cooling effect.
The Husband and I headed downtown tonight, so that it would be possible for me to converse and coalesce with some actual urban hipsters of my own approximate age and background, as opposed to the, er, slightly... grittier folk that I deal with on a daily basis. It was delightful to traipse through what I like to call the Age of Eddie, as well as to down a margarita and some potato pancakes, and just kick back and remember how fun and witty I can be. (The Husband points out that I was bound to get more laughs in a group than I do here alone, because, well, there aren't many numbers less than one.)
When we got off the Hutch, the East Tremont Diner shone like a beacon above the war-torn avenue, and Marc suggested a nightcap. I was up (as I usually am) for cheese fries and chicken... and we watched the (newly registered!!) car through the window, as we were double-parked in by no less than 4 drivers. The first just parked. The second parked and climbed out with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of window cleaner, and proceeded to glass-up. Soon, his significant other climbed out to help, bringing her own bottle and towel roll into the mix. The third parked and came inside for a joe to go, and the last did the same. While a new pot brewed, number four announced he was heading outside to smoke a cigarette. At this point we were leaving, somewhat hesitant to announce our departure while we were clearly blocked, but when we arrived at the car we noticed that the spot in front of our car was vacant, allowing us to sneak out.
Upon our arrival at the homestead, I noted that the neighbor from the corner is standing guard out front, fondling a walkman while his grandmother does the gardening. At 12:45 AM. I can't say I blame him... it's the start of the first full day of summer, and the natives are restless. I can hear them screaming from the 7-11 parking lot as I type. The Bronx is hopping tonight.
I've stopped answering the door. The bell's rung 8 times since 8:30 this morning. I grew weary of the disappointment.
It's either busted, or we've a particularly cruel (though skilled) ring-and-runner.
In a situation like this, which you are sure to see again, the best solution is to just take the second half of the pint away from her. Trust me on this.
Does Yahoo Mail ask you to re-login if you immediately close the pop-up ad after your initial login? It does me, all of a sudden. Mysterious.
I wonder if there's a way to cure assymetrical freckling. Thanks to the convertible and ample sun, my left arm is freckled to a density about three times that of my right. Cure this, and next we'll move on to that seatbelt tan line.
and speaking of skin... I've started working out at a totally posh gym (which would normally be way out of my price range, but thanks to Marc's uncle is totally FREE) and I just wish the divorcees didn't feel obliged to be quite so naked or chatty in the locker room. Sister! I'll be happy to look at your I heart NY keychain once you put on that towel. I knew the gym was yupped up beyond my wildest expectations when the guy on the treadmill next to me was taking business calls on his cel. There is also valet parking.
Hey, are you between New York and St. Louis? Is it raining where you live? I mean, apocalyptically downpouring, like end of all droughts and flashes of blinding lightning kinda rain? Because it better be, since that's why American Airlines cancelled our flight, the first leg of the trip to Albuquerque.
Allow me to clarify. Our flight was cancelled after we sat on the plane from 5:45 until 9:15. Going nowhere. With no air conditioning. And if you're not in New York right now, you'll just have to trust me when I say that it is hotter than prom night here. I feel like I was born and died three times on a La Guardia Airport runway today. If you've never seen the sun set over a control tower glowing electric blue, I do not recommend it. It is depressing in ways I cannot describe. Also, the FAA rules on cel phones on airplanes are defiantly relaxed by 200 sweaty stranded New Yorkers.
In other news, I am the grand champion of the dot game.
We have been rebooked for tomorrow morning. That is all.
It's Mister Kevin Brown!!!
Of course, everyone knows that Kevin's notoriety was established during the highly acclaimed and critically renowned Operation Gaylord, a 4-day, high speed Cannonball Run of a road trip to Urbana (Urbana Japanna I wanna you nana). The trip culminated, at least theoretically, with a wedding and Kevin in a tuxedo. There's not much better to a group of repressed geeks than 4 days on the open road, filled with Physics, Rolling Stones, severe brake degeneration, several bottles of wine, genital piercing, bell ringing, and KB in a tux. Oh, and a video camera. And, naturally, several asses. Welcome to the mayhem, Kev.
Tomorrow Marc and I leave on our own Operation Gaylord of sorts, to a wedding (another wedding. I know. Seriously, now, this is getting absurd.) in New Mexico. This time round we play the grown-ups and take an airplane. I've never been to the desert, and I'm sure I'll come back as the pinkest girl in the Bronx, though I'm not sure if that's really better than my current title -- whitest girl in the Bronx. Check out the forecast... the UV index is 10+ EXTREME, with highs predicted in the 90s (that's the 30s for my metric friends).
And although there isn't much better than KB in a tux, my own husband in a tux is among the few things that are. We'll try to keep our pants on, but I'm not making any guarantees.
On Friday night Marc and I went to see his god-daughter. She's rapidly approaching 2 and is just amazing. Chasing her around, teaching her new words, even just having her cuddle up in my lap while she falls asleep is enough to make me want to start a family. We're in no rush, though. We've been starting to think about moving out of the Bronx, and I'd hate to leave her (and her parents, and Marc's family) behind. Not to mention the fact that I'd really like to raise kids who are city-savvy. But living here brings up impracticalities that are just too prohibitive. And I'd also like to be closer to my own parents. So we're looking upstate. We were thinking of Rockland County, since then either one of us could easily commute for work, but the houses are absurdly overpriced. Maybe I'm being too fussy, but I think for the prices being asked, the siding on the front should all be the same color.
On Saturday we went to the zoo to see the baby animals. Are you sensing a theme for the weekend? It was not intentional. The hordes of screaming kids were enough to mute my motherly instincts. The strollers, the whining, the sheer expense of it all, and the requisite visit to the World of Darkness was enough to make me happy to be there as half of a party of TWO.
Saturday night we headed downtown for a night out with Marc's high school friends. His ex-girlfriend was there. We are going to her wedding in a few weeks and I spent most of the time there trying to figure out if I'd been duped into attending her quasi-bachelorette party. I still don't know. We were exhausted and left before there was a chance to find out.
Yesterday we drove around Rockland, effectively eliminating it as a destination, and then stopped off at Orchard Beach for a little bit of relaxation. Two things you will never hear at Orchard Beach: 1. I should really turn my radio down, and 2. No, I've never been to Puerto Rico. Excellent sample of Bronx culture.
Oh, and last night we went to Marc's friend Artie's place to watch his new show. He's a puppet wrangler, and a sometimes-puppeteer. It was pretty cool to watch with him. His interest in puppeteering stems from puppet shows he and Marc put on when they were young. His apartment is like a Sesame Street shrine. I wish I had pictures. It was unbelievable.
I don't know why I haven't been updating this page more frequently. I guess things are just slow without working, and I'm doubting whether I have anything worth saying these days. I've also been getting out and enjoying this neighborhood so much. I had my hair cut last week at a place called Hair Design 2000!. I've been meaning to go take pictures of the thousands (really!) of roses tripping my allergies and adding so much color to this already colorful landscape. Marc's working on a design for a domain we'll share. So, there is activity, and I've not degenerated into a boring lazy housewife, yet. I'll keep you updated.
I've spent most of the last two days trying to get all of my personal documentation to match up with who I actually am. Can't register my car, because I can't transfer my insurance, because I moved to a new state, because I got married, which results in a change to my name, which doesn't yet agree with my social security information, which messes up my credit report. Seems like there should be a way to make all of this automatic. But heaven forbid the government should be allowed to track me in such an effective way. This is punishment for my massive tax refund, I feel certain.
Naturally, all of this trouble really emphasizes my original point, which was that no New Yorker in their right mind should ever leave New York for New Jersey. If I had just stuck with my instinct (which was to pretend I was living in NY all along), then I wouldn't be having all of this trouble. My mother-in-law reminds me that when she was married, women left their parents' homes for their husband's home, thereby eliminating all of that in-between nonsense. There was that, and the fact that when they married, they hadn't yet been employed, so they had no social security number to mess around with.
Sometimes when I listen to WFUV, I hear a song that I like, and I think, "I should buy that CD." Then, sometimes, I realize that we already own that CD.
Marc and I rushed around the greater Hudson Valley trying to hit each and every mother we knew today. I may never eat again.
In other news, I'm scheduled to be in the audience of The Rosie O'Donnell Show tomorrow. Break out your VCRs, kids, and watch for me!
It's the kind of night where you jet downtown and meet up with your husband for a Belle and Sebastian show, despite the fact that you're not sure you like their music. You have soul food for dinner and walk back and forth to the car to drop off jackets and bags. The air is humid and cool, and your skin is dry and chill. The show is good, much better than you anticipated. Back in the car, you throw the top down and let your husband drive, winding the way home past the George Washington Bridge and across the Bronx. It's cooler than you thought, and you tilt your head back and watch as the overpasses fly by at sickening speed. Now, Belle and Sebastian are on the radio. It's that kind of night.
K: There's not much food in the house. What do you want for dinner?
M: Actually, I have a craving for McDonald's. [Hugs Kate. Pause.] I can't see your face, but I'm imagining the cringe. Maybe we can walk there.
K: OK, we can go to McDonald's.
M: Really? Great. [Pause.] We don't have to walk, do we?
Later that same night...
K: I am so full.
M: Is there any ice cream?
M: Do you want some, too?
I'm sorry, but how can you resist that face?
If you're like me, a slightly claustrophobic five foot eleven with legs up to your armpits (or even if yours just go up to your ass like everybody else's), I know you'll appreciate this vital information: secrets of coach seat layout. (Link via Metafilter.)
In other news... we've been back for a few days, and I'm starting to get the swing of being home all day with little to no responsibilities. I'm not entirely bored, but neither am I entirely content. Perhaps it's the living room full of boxes I'm trying to ignore, or the fact that until today we were coffeepotless, or la cucaracha I caught in the kitchen a couple of weeks ago, but I'm starting to think job again.
Or I was, until last weekend when we attended (yet) another wedding, this time with several of my ex-co-workers. Somehow all of those Xerox tales of woe and Engineering mishaps weren't so funny this time round. Anybody wanna come play with me??
Here's an interesting essay on Cooper Union and the Chrysler Building.
Greetings from Panama... we're just back from a day-long tour of the country and have 6 minutes left on the connection at the port to make a quick report. I'm typing on a Spanglish keyboard so forgive any typos.
We are married. We are sunburned. We've seen two oceans today. Costa Rica sucked. I had an allergic reaction to my sunscreen. Cozumel was fantastic and so was Grand Cayman. We are the youngest people on the trip. We are married. We are sunburned.
I've read two books so far and I've started needlepointing. I know what you're thinking, go have sex with your husband. Well... okay. In 3 minutes. The Neal Pollack Anthology of American Literature -- totally worth digging through the Strand to find it for 4 bucks.
Okay, that's all for now. I promise a more complete report in a few days. Adios!
Here come the pictures (gasp).
From Loria, the first few aren't from the wedding.
From Karen's Jesse (05-APR-02).
From Karen's Jesse (06-APR-02).
Last week was not a good week. On Thursday, March 28th, we got the terrible news that Marc's grandfather (and, of course, my at that time very soon-to-be grandfather-in-law) had passed away, quite suddenly, without illness or fanfare. Marc's family had been spending most of their time getting themselves more and more excited about the wedding, and so the death hit like a hammer.
My memories of Grand-Pa Tommy (their spelling of grandpa...) are somewhat sparse, since he suffered a speech-impairing stroke a few years ago, before I had much of a chance to get to know him. But I recently received a birthday card from him (apparently he was known for his affinity toward Hallmark) that made me cry. Granted, it's been an emotional couple of months, but the way he underlined "such a special granddaughter..." well, you can probably fill in the details.
Anyway, as heavy and miserable as everyone felt preparing for the funeral, they really turned it around for the wedding. The wedding became a major affirmation of life for at least half of my family. It was really wonderful to see everyone cheerful and friendly again. And as for Tommy, I think we knew that he'd wanted to be there so badly that he'd probably made it. After all, he never missed a party, and this was, without a doubt, a party.
I'm back from the whirlwind matrimonial tour of 2002, and I couldn't be floating any higher. With the possible exception of my extreme exhaustion, all seems right and happy and just full of love. On Saturday evening, we gathered 131 of our closest friends and family, had an extremely Catholic ceremony, and rocked the night away. Miraculously, I managed to escape the evening without vomiting or losing my voice, thanks mainly to six fabulously beautiful women who followed me around from 6 PM on Friday through early Sunday morning.
I'll follow with pictures at some point. Right now we're in wedding purgatory, waiting until Friday to hop on a plane and disappear for a couple of weeks. Poor Marc's at work, while I really need to do my taxes and wash last week's dishes, yuck.
Thanks to everybody who came, kissed, danced, primped, bustled, and ate. I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Yesterday I returned late from a somewhat wedding-related jaunt upstate. Marc was already in bed as I lugged some shower gifts up the stairs into our already over-boxed apartment. I moved in officially on Saturday, and we are seriously overwhelmed, despite all of my efforts to cut down inventory before the move. Right now the only places to sit are on the bed and at the computer. We have no couch because, although we managed to remove his old leather jobby with great difficulty, my green garbage couch was of severely suburban proportions and was having none of our skewed entryway. So we left two couches on the curb and filled the living room with boxes. Please don't come visit any time soon. Once I'd locked up and settled in, I returned to my [far too many] messages, not giving anyone the phone time they deserved. I stripped and climbed into bed, and snuggled up next to Marc, smelling his musky back and listening to his snore. I wrapped around him and noted the moment.
Today marks one year of the Know (although I didn't really say much until April). Thanks for reading (all 16,702 of you!).
First, I'm only wired occasionally, so the days of 7 weblog entries are suspended until further notice. Which will come (Marc, you reading this?), but things like moving and getting married are slightly higher priorities these days. Goodbye broadband job, hello dial-up unemployment. Such are the sacrifices I make.
Second, and since I hear people hate posts about not posting, it's my birthday! Yep, 26 years ago today, it all began with a bang and a whimper. As if there wasn't enough to celebrate already!
For a girl like me, being in a room with 30 women is a little much. But wow, yesterday it happened and a half. There was a shower, and lots of women, and lots of presents, and embarrassing games. I have the best girlfriends ever. And a new black feather boa, and a new grill pan. And any day that ends like that can't be bad. And the other days recently haven't been so bad either!! On Saturday I had my final fitting and Diane and Max bustled me and unbustled me. And bustled. And unbustled. I sat, and danced. They bustled, and unbustled, and then, finally, I took the dress off for the second to last time ever.
This morning, trying to pack up the car, I proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that all of the interior volume of an RX-7 is less than the trunk volume of a Lincoln Continental. Which means if you're driving a Continental, you're driving a regular car with an RX-7 tacked on the back. Boaty!
I'm an unemployed soon-to-be housewife. After 9 hours of cleaning, bill-paying, and packing, I have a new appreciation for so-called domestic engineers everywhere. Watch here for my awe to grow...
In other news, I committed a fairly major faux-pas on Saturday, when I arrived at someone's funeral reception with a wedding shower gift in hand. I had the day wrong. Michele was kind enough to be doubly impressed at my presence when I told her what had happened, during her actual shower on Sunday. I had a feeling that second black party dress would come in handy someday.
I may have understated something on dinner with ex, below. I am still sad for each relationship that didn't work out in my life. From each one, I took a lesson and tucked it under my belt and moved on. But for each little piece I got, I also lost a little bit. That's the part that still hurts. I would not trade any of those experiences to get a piece back. That's the real risk you take in a relationship -- are you each becoming a better person regardless of the outcome? If the answer is yes, then you're doing fine.
He was only ten minutes late. When he arrived, I didn't bother getting up. We had casual conversation for over an hour, and I think I only insulted him once -- when I mentioned my parents' computer and how their spellcheck mysteriously stopped working after he upgraded their OS.
But now that I think about it, I suppose the ring was an insult. And the way I tend to cover it up since I was accused of wagging it. And the casual use of the third-person we.
Last year he was sick on Valentine's Day, and later, he dumped me on my birthday.
I'm so happy these days, and yet when I got back in the car there were a couple of tears on my face. I'm a different person than I was a year ago. I'm stronger, I'm saner, I'm smarter, and I have shorter hair. But I'm not sure he noticed any of that.
That may be the last time I see him, and I do feel some sadness for the two years that will go mostly unreferenced for the rest of our lives, but that's the risk you take when you enter into a relationship. Mostly I am indifferent. Lately I feel at once both over- and underwhelmed, preparing for the chaos of the next six weeks with more sleep at night and deeper breaths.
Some people use css; some people use xml. Me, I throw up a cheap comments utility and I still get hardly any validation. And by talking about it, I've just made myself that much more uncool.
Here's a little bit of the wedding etiquette to which I am being subjected.
Happy National Engineers' Week! How will you celebrate?
I forgot to put out my Generic Grad Student tip of the day: Stop talking about Grad School. Seriously. Nobody cares. Keep talking, and I'll turn that Ph.D. into a Ph.Don't.
This tip also applies to near and recent doctors of anything, as well as undergraduates and pretty much anyone affiliated in any way with the so-called Ivy League.
Of course, there are exceptions. Like entire tables-full of grad students. Note the distinct requirement for all present at the table to be in on the joke.
It occurs to me now that with Erik leaving, there's nobody to help jack up my car when I change my oil.
Erik! Don't go!
Or, if you must, draw me a diagram of my chassis!
My prevailing mood today, as I continue to be stomped upon? So the hell what.
To have worked this hard and still be told that it wasn't quite enough is just about the last thing I want to hear right now, with two weeks left and two projects that they really want me to finish. Hey, guess what... burned bridges don't work in either direction, folks.
I've added a bunch of reads over there in preparation for the impending loss of my bookmarks file here at work, and I couldn't help but notice that I am drawn to the soft warm glow of primarily orange weblogs. Pretty much a surefire way to get a link outta me.
Barry Manilow did not write I Write the Songs. Shocking but true.
With apologies for biting the flow of Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, Abe Lincoln's 193rd birthday, Peter Cooper's 211th birthday, and Goon turning 30:
I'm sitting on the edge of a grey office chair right now and I'm leaning over the desk of my superior, the man whose voice has inspired fear, drowsiness, genius, guilt and stupidity on a daily basis for nearly five years. In my outstretched hand is a white envelope which contains 1 (one) meticulously crafted and innocuously proper letter of resignation (rewritten approximately seven times since last Tuesday to be ultimately sealed with a late night bout of hysteria).
As of March 1st, 2002, two and a half generous weeks from today, I will be officially unemployed, to my own delight, my future spouse's delight, and to the chagrin of my parents, for whom housewifing and novel-writing are not acceptable reasons to leave a perfectly well-paying and benefits-endowed job in the midst of an economic downturn.
There's a bit more to it of course, as they say, and as there always is. Lately the ever-diminishing stock price has ceased being a joke, and has become justification for simple meanness. Low morale has become high indifference, and I've been stretching work so as to appear useful. I simply cannot do this anymore.
There is also the aforementioned possibility of a move to Singapore which currently remains but a possibility but which continues looming in the ever-nearing future, and I'd really rather not dump two households' worth of shit into storage at the hefty rate we're likely to pay in NYC. So Marc and I decided it's a wise idea to start spending a fair amount of time consolidating and streamlining we two into one now, rather than in a year when we return.
As of right now the official word is that we'll be in the Bronx until June, at least, and then who knows? So the timeline goes like this:
1. I'll move NJ -> NY by St. Patrick's Day,
2. Wedding, April 6th,
3. honeymoon, gratuitous important married-people stuff through the end of April,
4. May... who knows? Hopefully MayNoWriMo, among other distractions (and continued gratuitous married-people stuff...).
5. June... I'll come back to this later.
I'm far busier than I should be (but what else is new?) and just writing this weblog entry was tough to fit in. I'm posting here just before my scheduled meeting with Seth, just in case there's anyone from work lurking. I've already been to Human Resources, and so I spent most of the day in quitting purgatory.
When I started working here I was 21, and I'm still the most recent Engineering hire. I'm proud to be walking away with dignity.
But it was not without trepidation that I made this decision. In the process of tearing out my hair while breaking out in a cold sweat for the last two weeks, I've come to a few realizations. First, finally setting up someplace with Marc again and staying there forever this time is going to be great. The contract-based aspect of his job (which will now be supporting two) is going to put that off for a little while, but still, it's something to anticipate. Second, I'm the panicking one in the relationship. Big time. Conversations generally have been going something like this:
Kate: Hey, what's shakin'?
Marc: Hey babe.
Kate: AAAAAARGH! Where will we put my desk? And my socks? And my pots and pans? And my shoes? There's no room for any of my stuff!??!?
Marc: Um... I'm going to clean out some areas for you.
Kate: That would be great. AAAAAAARRRGH! Where will we put my desk? ...
And thus the great simplification of 2002 begins. I plan to reduce inventory by at least half... everything must Go! Go! Go!
Volkswagen's got a new ad running, not yet linked here, featuring VW Engineers and Designers working on cars through the automotive age. So, um... where are the women?
A new fun Friday game.
1. Are you employed? Happily?
2. Do you receive an annual raise? When?
3. Do you receive a bonus of any type?
The wedding rings arrived on Wednesday. They are absolutely great. The box was delivered to work and I wasn't allowed to open it until Marc got here. I picked him up at the train station and we didn't even make it out of the parking lot before he ripped the box open.
So, oh yeah. I designed them. I'm not so big on revealing these sickening personal details here, but the design is based on rings that we bought at the flea market near Tower Records in 1994. One of the times we "broke up" (this statement has now thoroughly earned its punctuation), my ring split along the seam. Tragic. That seam is now a relic of a former design, so to speak. I don't have a picture of the final products yet, but you can see the design and a prototype if you follow that link. The actual rings look a lot like the prototype, but the texturing on the cut surfaces is a lot smoother (though still somewhat matte-looking).
Things are just overwhelmingly good lately. The invitations are done. I had major headpiece inspiration late Tuesday night after hitting bead stores in the Garment District last Friday... oh, and there's the head-over-heels-in-love thing, too. The rushing-off-to-the-Bronx-again thing. The thirty-one-lovey-dovey-e-mails-a-day thing. The... never mind. You get it, right?
If I spoke to you earlier this week and I mentioned that I was going to do something drastic today, well, I'm not. Not yet. Stay tuned.
In honor of Erik's imminent departure, I bring you Ed Fiorelli is a punk ass.
Long time readers will not be surprised to learn that this latest absence has been brought to you by the letter V... V is for vomit, volume, and volcanic.
From MSNBC, unfortunately:
U.S. OFFICIALS told NBC News that evidence found in Afghanistan also showed plans to attack other targets in Washington state, including massive hydroelectric dams, including the Grand Coulee Dam. The dam is one of the world’s largest concrete structures and the main power-generating site on the Columbia River — one of the nation’s biggest sources of electricity.
I think I get it. It's a big ass dam.
I did not take an unsick day today, even though I really wanted to do so. On Friday, I will take a legitimate vacation day. Guilt mixed with prorated vacation is a stressful thing to contemplate at 6 AM when you're a two-hour drive from work and there's a warm naked body in the bed with you. On the plus side, the afternoon goes a lot faster than the morning on days like these. But allow me to reiterate: when it's 7:10 AM and you're resigned to a day of work and the low-oil buzzer in your car starts going off, it feels like the day will never end. In other words, there's always a minus side.
A nice e-mail showed up in my inbox today, from Laura Maffei. I think I have a new read.
Is four too many? Are you overwhelmed? Good. Yes, that's what I'm saying.
Laura also teaches at Wagner College, a school my brother considered attending (before he fled to England... but that's another story). What I'm really interested in is this class she's teaching (yes, I even read her cv...):
A literature course presenting fiction, poetry, and essay where New York City is character as much as setting. Explores how New York City defines and is defined by its literature. Papers and writing exercises emphasize analytical response.
This is what I missed in school. I got everything I could out of the Humanities Department at my teensy little Engineering school, but it really wasn't enough. You can keep your campus, and I could do without a dorm, but I really felt cheated when it came to insightful reading and writing. There were too many thoughts dashed off too quickly so I could get back to Thermodynamics homework.
Sorry for the relative lack of entries today... I've been Googlewhacking.
I'd tell you what I found, but then I'd be unwhacking it. As it is I'm dewhacking the whack. (Except that technically, googlewhacking discussion doesn't count against the whack. It just sounds good.) And I feel a real nihilistic agorophobia about it, too.
And of course, there are bunches of good ones here.
I am detail-oriented enough to enjoy planning a wedding. So suck it up.
I just realized this website was completely devoid of my name, or it required a silly amount of time to hunt down my identity. Whoops. A few weeks ago it occured to me that it was stupid to have the "hurled by kate mac" under each post, if I was the only one writing, and so I got rid of my byline. I guess I just never completed the thought until today.
I'm 25 (but I'll be 26 soon!).
I'm trapped in NJ.
I'm getting married.
I'm an Engineer.
I also write.
I drive a 1991 RX-7 convertible with a manual transmission.
I'm very nearly six feet tall.
I just quit my rowing club.
I've been in one fight.
Jennie set up an amazon.com wishlist to help the Natomas Middle School Library get some things they need. Think about helping them out, if you can. I can think of no better cause than a school library, and not just because that's where all of my old children's books went. I bought them The Boxcar Children.
Are you recently out of work? Hoping to be let go, so you can move on to more interesting ventures? On your way to a shiny new job? Go read The Recession Chic Lie. A good read in any case.
After reading on McSweeney's yesterday that Neal Pollack was going to receive a prominent mention on last night's episode of Dawson's Creek, I decided I'd better tune in to see what the fuss was about.
He was mentioned, as a back-of-the-book reviewer of some professor's book, and he was called the Greatest Living Writer of our Something-or-other. Yadda yadda, patcherownback, thanks.
Now I'll admit (proudly!), I wasn't paying the closest attention. I'm making wedding invitations these days and TV's been excellent background entertainment. Making one of something is fun and feels creative. Making 80 of something requires nothing but good resistance to RSIs. Still, I'm so very pleased and excited about what's coming out of this little project. My wedding will also be my first real foray into graphic design (I'm discounting anything I made previously that required Elmer's Glue and glitter) and I'm just beside myself with awe when it comes to my own creativity.
(Please, like you've never stared into your own navel and thought it could use a little more sparkle...)
But anyway, what I really want to talk about is Pacey, the wacky boat-dwelling recluse chef. The one who slept with his ex-girlfriend after she offered him a trip around the world with her father. Why was he packing if he decided not to take the trip? You know, at the end. Right before the feel-good moment of the week, when all of his friends showed up to tell him how great he was. That slutty blond girl waitress walked in and he was packing. She interrupted him. Then she dragged him outside and surprise! The friends got all rhapsodic about how they'd miss him, and then surprise! He announced he wasn't leaving. Help?
No, really. Help. I know you saw it. I can't be the only one.
i'm building models out of papier-mâché,
one for the head of each of my friends.
i'm building them up one by one,
larger than life, with bright colors and big hair.
next i'm going to send them to nasa,
and see if i can get them flown to the moon.
then i'll throw a manic teaparty,
and see whose head goes craziest.
My boss frequently leaves earlier than I do, yet never says Goodbye. This is a new development.
One of those songs that's always stuck somewhere in my head, her version of Lieber and Stoller's Is That All There Is? was Peggy Lee's breakthrough. It was the soundtrack of my life for a while there. Peggy Lee died last night. She was a great singer and a great lady.
I just called Comcast. Still no multiple IP addresses allowed, even though their website FAQ says:
My account has multiple IP addresses. Do I need to take any special steps?
No. These will be generated automatically for your new account. Be assured that you will have the same number of IPs on your new account as you had on your previous one.
I can't believe that one company can suck so bad and so hard. Comcast couldn't automatically generate my ass. My second IP address (the one going to MY computer, not my roommate's) hasn't worked since before they switched off the Excite @Home servers. Each person I speak to is dumber than the former. This one told me someone in tech support told her to tell me to buy a router as a "temporary fix" for the problem.
Finally I asked if I could speak to someone in Tech Support. They gave me a separate number for direct access to Tech Support (the woman I spoke to in my local office couldn't even transfer me herself), and this is key: 888-793-9800.
So, after 11 calls to Comcast since January 7th, I spoke charmingly to Tom in Tech Support, somewhere in Michigan, and he said he'll add the second address, no problem. No Problem. 48-72 hours, $6.95/month, don't tell anybody. He also said he'll be over for dinner.
I'm no groupie, but many of my friends are of the musical genus. Which begs the age old question, do hot chicks attract musicians, or encourage musical ability? Anyway, because I care, and because simply reading this page may lead you to pick up a piano and start pounding away, I'd like to share this with you. Best of luck. I said BEST OF LUCK. No, not, "guess the duck." BEST! of LUCK!
PS That's GENUS. Not "Genius," you, uh, genius.
It's hard to archive properly. It really is. Blogger eats my archives for breakfast some days, and then it takes me weeks to notice (I'm not in the habit of rereading old weblog entries -- I may be a narcissist, but I'm not into self-torture, and even I know that I tend to prattle on sometimes. Like now, for example. Here's a sample of writing I'd hate to find in my archives. Righto.).
Anyway, if you noticed that they were mostly gone, they're back now. I didn't really disappear from June until January. But that reminds me, I'm approaching a year of this, almost. It's been fun. Well, I've had fun. Remember that time I lost all my archives from June through January? That was a blast. Point being, are you reading? Seriously, I'm curious. Let me know if you are. Because I'm going to keep doing this either way, but I'm wondering about you, my audience. What do you think? Should I lose the splash of hot orange? Ease up on the conversational tone in my writing? What do you think?
All I really have to say about this is that Marc and I spent most of four years sharing a twin-sized bed with one pillow. And for two of those years, we were six feet up atop a loft with no safety rails. And when we were, shall we say, of limited cognitive function, we had the common sense to sleep on the floor.
Sorry, but You Know You're From The Capital District When...
1. You refer to downtown Albany as "The City".
2. You explain to your friends from out-of-town that nobody actually calls it the Thaddeus Kosiusko Bridge.
3. You understand how people can say they live in Clifton Park when their mailing address is Halfmoon.
4. You know enough to avoid any vehicle on the Northway with Canadian plates.
5. You know that Mason & Sheehan isn't a cheap Champagne.
6. You know who that guy Ken Goewey is. You may even actually know Ken Goewey.
7. You await the opening of Jumpin' Jacks & Kurver Kreme every year.
8. There's a mini-mall every 1/4 mile; if not, you're in Vermont.
9. You think every place has a Central Avenue and Wolf Road.
10. You know Arbor Hill and Hamilton Hill aren't clothing designers.
11. It's SODA dammit! And people who call it POP make you want to slap them.
12. You don't consider what Domino's or Pizza Hut sells to be Pizza.
13. You know that 'First Night' isn't a Sean Connery movie.
14. You aren't freaked out when you see the GE sign lit up at XMAS.
15. You know that AirTite Windows knocked RESNICK's sign down.
16. You still sometimes call it the "Knick" instead of the "Pepsi".
17. You know who Nina (of Manchester) and her husband are, AND how they sell diamonds for less than 33%.
18. Everybody likes Jack Byrne, but Terry Morris is STILL number one.
19. The Egg: It isn't just for breakfast anymore.
20. There's no such thing as waiting for the left turn arrow at an intersection.
21. You can feed a family of 12 at Ralph's for under $50.
22. There is a college (Russell Sage) that specializes in a MRS degree.
23. Your career ambition is to work for the State.
24. You thought Hoffman's Playland was the the BEST amusement park as a child.
25. You know a 'Tobin's First Prize' is something to eat and not a contestwinner.
26. While driving down Loudonville Road, you know what it means to make a right turn at 'the dog'.
27. You know that the 'the Berkshire Spur' isn't a foot ailment, and you may have been to a prom at the old rest stop there.
28. The big thing in the summertime is the 'Jericho'.
29. Grandma's Pies weren't made by your momma's momma.
30. With even the slightest threat of snow, you know that Ichabod Crane school is closed.
31. No matter how many times they change their name, the ice cream place on Albany Shaker will always be 'Jim Dandy's'. And the one on Columbia Turnpike will always be Vigor's.
32. You know there's nothing International about our airport.
33. You know how to say AND spell 'Schenectady' and 'Rensselaer'.
34. You know not to drink the water at the Washington County Fair.
35. You're noticed that the Channel 10 5:00pm anchors don't seem to worry about the camera adding 10 pounds.
36. Live at 5 is dead by 6.
37. You can answer this question: "What color Orange Ford do you own?"
38. You understand the importance of Denny's to one's social life.
39. You've called it Smallbany, Nonebany, or Fallbany.
40. You took you mother to the Tulip Festival for Mother's Day.
Gone are the days when you could just slap a chain-letter list of quirky geographic characteristics at the top of your webpage and call it humor. So I'm prefacing the list of quirky geographic characteristics I just received via e-mail and which I'm now reprinting below with this paragraph. I know, this isn't much better. But much to my dismay, I'm guilty as charged. And to my further dismay, this isn't an overwhelmingly inaccurate description of my impressions of New Jersey. Don't ask me to clarify; some of them still leave me in the dark. But the very fact that I've received this message at all really says something, I think. Anyway, without further ado...
You're a genuine New Jersey resident if you can relate to at least 10 of these...
1. You've been seriously injured at ActionPark.
2. You know that the only people who call it "Joisey" are from New York (usually The Bronx) or Texas.
3. You don't think of citrus when people mention "The Oranges."
4. You know that it's called "Great Adventure," not "Six Flags."
5. You've ordered a hard roll with butter for breakfast.
6. You've known the way to Seaside Heights since you were seven.
7. You've eaten at a diner, when you were stoned or drunk, at 3 A.M.
8. Whenever you park, there's a Camaro within three spots of you.
9. You remember that the "Two Guys" were from Harrison.
10. You know that the state isn't one big oil refinery.
11. At least three people in your family still love Bruce Springsteen, and you know what town Jon Bon Jovi is from.
12. You know what a "jug handle" is.
13. You know that a WaWa is a convenience store.
14. You know that the state isn't all farmland.
15. You know that there are no "beaches" in New Jersey - there's "The Shore," and you know that the road to the shore is "The Parkway" not "The Garden State Highway."
16. You know that "Piney" doesn't refer to a tree.
17. Even your school cafeteria made good Italian subs, and, you call it a "sub" not a "submarine sandwich" or worse yet, a "hoagie" or a "hero."
18. You remember the song from the Palisades Park commercials.
19. You know how to properly negotiate a Circle.
20. You knew that the last question had to do with driving.
21. You know that "Acme" is an actual store, not just a Warner Bros. creation.
22. You know that this is the only "New..." state that doesn't require "New" to identify it (like, try -Mexico, -York, -Hampshire ... doesn't work, does it??)
23. You know how to translate this conversation: "Jeet yet?" "No, Jew?"
24. You only go to New York City for day trips, and you only call it "The City."
25. You know that a "White Castle" is the name of BOTH a fast food chain AND a fast food sandwich.
26. You consider a corned beef sandwich with lettuce and mayo a sacrilege.
27. In the 80's you wore your hair REALLY high.
28. You don't think "What exit" (as in, ... do you live near?) is very funny.
29. You know that the real first "strip shopping center" in the country is Route 22.
30. You know that people from the 609 area code are "a little different."
31. You know that no respectable New Jersey resident goes to Princeton -- that's for out-of-staters.
32. The Jets-Giants game has started fights at your school or local bar.
33. You live within 20 minutes of at least three different malls.
34. You can see the Manhattan skyline from some part of your town.
35. You refer to all highways and interstates by their numbers.
36. Every year, you had at least one kid in your class named Tony.
37. You know where every clip shown in the Sopranos opening credits is.
38. You've gotten on the wrong highway trying to get out of Willowbrook Mall.
39. You've eaten a Boardwalk cheesesteak with vinegar fries.
40. You have a favorite Atlantic City casino.
41. You start planning for Memorial Day weekend in February.
42. You've never pumped your own gas. And why would you want to, really?
Interesting statistic from this article on unmarriage:
Men in their late 30s and early 40s will outnumber women five to 10 years younger by two to one, by 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
I'm just looking out for you, here. You, the one looking to put off the quest for the cute young wifey.
The most apt commentary I've ever read of the Capital District of New York State is here.
I had my first dress fitting on Saturday morning. Here's how it went:
Oh God, I'm a bride.
The wedding is three months away.
The wedding is less than three months away.
The wedding is twelve weeks away. Eleven and a half.
I'll be married before we spring ahead.
The ulcer medication gets sucked down a little quicker these days. There's a little more urgency everywhere. I'm driving faster. Staying up later. Going out more. Cuddling harder. Writing longer. Working less, but screwing off more. My pupils are dilated and my concentration is diluted. If you have something to tell me, tell me in small, discrete pieces or I promise to ignore you. I'm self-involved in a whole new way. My shoulders are up somewhere around my earlobes.
We'll be married before the next Star Wars movie comes out.
An actual, living person just told me that this bra doesn't hold my boobs high enough.
There is stuff to do, pending stuff, important stuff. Just give me another goddamn bra already!
Everybody else at work is getting a computer upgrade, so the Engineering department just picked up some plucked out memory. I'm now up to 320MB, wheee!
I'm frazzled. I'll admit it. This was a busy week, what with the Erik Christiansen Open Mic World Tour and all the weekend planning. It's one of those out-of-town wedding whirlwind weekends I've got planned. We're looking at a dress fitting, the florist, the priest, the cake lady, the photographer, and addressing invitations till my hand falls off. So, I'll most likely not be back in this space till Monday. Or perhaps I shall be -- those late nights at Mom and Dad's get a little quiet, and Marc's all snivelly and snotty, bedded down with a severe case of the Januaries.
Looks like I'm already paying for everything I could. Oh well, I tried.
There's some speculation on Metafilter that this free* ride's about to end. I'm going to stay tuned for the details -- I've got an enormous amount of faith in Pyra and I'd gladly pay for functionality.
Diane. My only friend with a four-seater car totalled it two weeks ago. First thing she said when she called me? "Don't worry, the cast will be off in time for the wedding."
Erik. When we passed Quakerbridge Mall last night, I remembered how he tried to teach me to drive stick in the parking lot and the Miata got going so fast I was afraid to stop, so we just circled the mall for a while.
Ed. Eddie's Miata came from a crazy used-car salesman on Long Island. We all went to take a look and E&E dove underneath with tools and a mirror. I had to tell the salesman, "We're Engineers."
The NYC Antihoot, hosted by Lach at the Fort at Sidewalk Café, sucks. And let me tell you why.
First, there's Lach. A self-serving little wanker of a man*, referencing him on your weblog (which he finds while he ego-surfs) will result in your e-mail address being added to his mailing list. Apparently he does most, if not all, of the scheduling at Sidewalk, so if you're looking for a starter gig in NYC, you're somehow obliged to suck him off repeatedly until he graces you with a tips-only hour show with a few lovelorn bill-mate miserables half-listening to you. Their sole purpose is to stroke your ego and his with a few seconds of meager applause and a buck or two in the tip mandolin.
Second, there's Lach at the antihootenany, which probably used to be fun and interesting but now is just part of an increasingly dead scene. The way it works is this... A bunch of people show up with guitars and ratty notebooks and tophats and Lach gives a big hearwarming speech about how the order in which people play won't matter, how a number's just a number and how he doesn't want anyone to fixate. Then Lach passes out numbers. Then a whole bunch of Sidewalk regulars stumble in and Lach inserts them ahead of you in the lineup. Once the regulars are done playing, the format switches from two songs per to one song per. Lach enforces this format by literally yanking the plug from the soundboard after each performer's act.
Everyone pimps their upcoming show at Sidewalk. Lach tells the same jokes he's been telling for at least ten years. Two-thirds of the crowd takes off to catch the F Train before it stops running. This includes many of your so-called friends. After an act finishes, you overhear someone ask the performer what number he was: "Twelve." Things started at 8, and it is now 11:30. This man replies: "Really? I'm forty-seven." You are fourteen, and it takes 8 more performers to get to you. Lach sits up front at the sound board and tries to make eye contact with the people in the back while holding his finger up in what's probably meant to be the universal sign for "shush" but which comes out looking like the universal sign for "I'm number one, you cocksucker".
To make things worse, someone apparently forgot to inform 90% of the acts that there was supposed to be some anti in their antifolk. Can you sing and play guitar like Ani Difranco? Great! Go do it in your living room. Angst is best served unaccompanied. Having dreams where you're reborn as James Taylor? Fantastic. But please realize this -- we already have a James Taylor.
The icing on the cake is the tip (jar) mandolin, which is passed repeatedly and which you may see Lach emptying into a big wad of bills which he will stand in the bar area and count while not listening to any act after midnight. These funds go toward keeping the Antihoot running, whatever that means.
Save your time (not to mention your dignity). Go to Philly and peep Adam Brodsky's antihoot. Draw number 8 and play three times: 8th, 16th, and as part of the big ugly circle jerk at the end of the night. Make it home by 2 AM. Adam's a far nicer guy, runs a much dirtier hoot, and will never, ever, make you feel like you paid to play.
And fercrissake, if you've got to go to NYC, rock the fuck out. And don't just stay to see Kimya and Drew. If you're lucky, maybe Lach'll offer you a gig. Wheee!
* This name-calling, and, for that matter, this rant in general, were a lot more scathing when I wrote them at 2 AM after I discovered that my cable modem was down. Thank you Comcast! I toned things down once this morning before I discovered my car was frozen shut, and then toned it back up again when I arrived at work an hour late only to discover that Blogger was down. So, I may be projecting just a bit.
Four is the number I reached when I counted down from one hundred for the second time while waiting for you three days ago. I stood in the vestibule of your apartment building, our meeting place, waiting like an impatient train passenger already late for work. Two others passed. The doors opened, slammed, opened, and slammed; then opened, slammed, opened, and slammed.
A kid in a black snowsuit whaled the outer door with a snowball. The glass, impregnated with metal rebar, did not crack. I scowled at him and he ran away from me. I am imposing but girlish -- a frightening prospect for a child craving motherness but satisfying with my substantial gaze to the child craving simple attention.
When the door opened and you entered the vestibule you greeted me with an annoying brain teaser, a trick of language. I marveled at your intelligence, despising your condescension. You are older than I. You regret being born first, and you resent me for the innocence that accompanies my youth.
You clutched my neck, from behind -- an affectionate gesture fraught with threatening strength. It was not an embrace, but an enclosure.
We left the building. We wandered up the street, vagrants.
To follow up on my November post about the Harvard professor gone missing, Time Magazine reports the discovery of his body in a rather ambiguous way. Actually, "his body" may not quite be the right terminology...
FOUND. A body carrying the identification of DON WILEY, 57, Harvard molecular biologist and researcher of deadly viruses like Ebola, who had been missing since Nov. 16; in the Mississippi River in Vidalia, La. Wiley had been attending a meeting in Memphis, Tenn.
So, like I said, Jerry, Joe, and apparently The Powerpuff Girls have got plooj. And I seem to have come down with a case myself, thanks to a 2 for $4 sale on Tropicana before Christmas over at Genuardi's. But now? Shop Rite's got 'em 2 for $3. The world may never be the same.
Is it really necessary to keep the office temperature hovering around minus two? Are we really saving money on electricity, as the rumor goes? Does the electricity bill really go down when each employee gets his or her own space heater? Can the silk blouse ladies please turn off the headlights now? Yeah, I know it's cold. Maybe a sweater vest would help.
It's finally winter here in the great Northeast and I cannot seem to get warm. My new apartment is warmer than the last one (cathedral ceilings, I miss ya) but rolling over and slapping my bare ass up on the icy wall is still a mid-slumber risk. So I get up and take a shower that's hot for about 7 minutes, until our milkjug-sized hot water heater decides to go into hibernation for the morning.
Then I put on half of the clothes I own, endure the perforated leather seats that always seem like such a good idea until mid-December of each year in the car that won't heat up again until April, and come here, where I chug down an extra large Dunkin Donuts coffee and crank the heater under my desk to III, whatever that means.
Ah, winter. Someone take me skiing, quickly, to remind me that I shouldn't spend the day with my thumb on an aerosol nozzle in the hopes of speeding global warming.
(with apology and thanks to to catholic.org.)
1. The Aesthetician will often begin with the Sign of the Cross or a greeting and blessing.
2. The Hairy Customer begins by saying “Bless me Aesthetician for I have sinned, it has been ____ (number of days, weeks, months, etc.) since my last waxing. These are my eyebrows”.
3. Confess all mortal pluckings committed since your last waxing by kind and number (this is important). Hold NOTHING back. You may also confess any shaving or trimming.
4. At the end of your confession say these or similar words: “For these and all the beauty mistakes of my life I am sorry.” By this you tell the Aesthetician that you are finished. Otherwise, she might think you are still thinking or even trying to summon the courage to tell her "the big one".
5. The Aesthetician may ask questions for clarification or give you some counsel on a point from your confession. Answer briefly.
6. The Aesthetician will suggest an eyebrow shape. Listen carefully and remember it. You can refuse an eyebrow shape if it is too vague or impossible to do in a reasonable time.
7. The Hairy Customer makes an act of contrition in these or similar words: O my Aesthetician, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all of my extraneous facial hair because of Thy just punishments. But most of all because they offend Thee my Aesthetician, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to shave no more, and to avoid the near occasions of overplucking. Amen. Memorize a good act of contrition.
8. The Aesthetician will apply hot wax and fabric strips to your forehead, and then rip them away thusly. (The words necessary in English for forgiveness are “I absolve you from your brows in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”). Do not leave until the Aesthetician has given you an application of a soothing skin balm. She will not refuse you this salve unless it is clear that you are not sorry for your brows or you have no intention of amending their shape.
To all of you who are running AOL in OS9 on a Mac, I apologize. My site seems to look okay, but damn, most of the web looks like hell to you, huh?
That's right, I'm at Mom and Dad's again. And the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, we've all been to church and eaten pork, Mom and Matt are watching Christmas Vacation in the Family Room, and it's all so sickeningly homey I'm considering downloading some Olsen Twins piXXX just to remedy the acid stomach.
So far I've gotten all kinds of unexpected Christmas gifts -- my little brother's learned to smoke! Eddie's learned to play a Patti Smith song! Will wonders never cease! Photos coming soon!
But you know I love it. And I know you do too. This has been a tough year for so many people. So enjoy what you have, and may it be wonderful and sparkly if that's what you're looking for. And may it be filled with Mary Kate and Ashley if that's what you're looking for. As you may statistically be, now that my weblog is forever linked with those precious little bundles of joy.
So go hug somebody, drink yourself some eggnog, and celebrate the solstice or the jesus or the festivus or whatever it is you're enjoying, and I'll catch you in the new year. Or perhaps in the old year, depending on how much snow we get (rear-wheel drive and I don't get along too well up here) and whether I manage to get out of the house.
If all the permits work out, and I see no reason why they shouldn't*, Eddie will be playing guitar with Patti Smith in the morning. I just have to go home and break out my deerskin parka and gloves. Not to mention my antler hat. Tonight we feast on venison, my brothers, for tomorrow we die!
This is a real press release. I wish I could make it up. Secret plan! Repeatedly rammed metal bolt!! ENLIGHTENED TRADITIONS!!! Bwahahahaha!!!!!
LEGENDARY ROCK AND ROLL STAR PATTI SMITH TO ANCHOR "RALLY FOR RUDOLPH"
FREE CONCERT WILL BENEFIT EFFORTS TO STOP NJ DEER SLAUGHTER
Princeton, NJ. The first-ever "Rally For Rudolph" will be held this Saturday, December 22 at noon in Palmer Square in downtown Princeton, NJ to stop the planned dangerous and brutal slaughter of deer in Princeton and throughout the state of New Jersey.
The rally and concert will feature New Jersey born star Patti Smith and is free and open to the public. Patti Smith is a finalist for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and her album "Horses" was voted one of the fifty greatest albums of all time by VH1 and MTV. She has collaborated with Bruce Springsteen in the past. Patti Smith will be playing with the band A+Attitude featuring Eric Salus, formerly of the popular 70s group, Tony Orlando and Dawn.
Additional public comments will be read on behalf of rally supporter/writer, Joyce Carol Oates and ethicist, Peter Singer who are plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last week to stop the dangerous deer kill program in New Jersey. The public is being encouraged to come to downtown Princeton to support local merchants, shop, and help the community by voicing opposition to dangerous high-powered rifles in Princeton.
"Princeton is now the only town in New Jersey that allows high-powered rifles that can discharge bullets up to a mile. This is an unacceptable danger to our community," said rally organizer Emily Cook.
"Princeton stands for knowledge, humanity, ethics and progressivism," said rally organizer Karen Cotton. "The secret plan passed by Princeton Township Mayor Phyliss Marchand to kill deer by repeatedly ramming a metal bolt into their heads after the deer are tortured in nets is barbaric and repudiates all of Princeton's enlightened traditions."
The rally is co-sponsored by the Mercer County Deer Alliance, the New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, Princeton Mothers To Stop Dangerous Rifles in Princeton, Princeton Alumni To Stop Brutality To Deer, Littlebrook Elementary School Children For the Deer, Princeton Friends School Children For Deer, and the Princeton High School Humane Society.
Look for special appearances by Elves For Rudolph and Donner, Blixen, Vixen, Prancer, Dancer and Comet.
*other than the fact that an occasion this ridiculous is surely run by buffoons.
Headhunters. There's a reason why the word means these two things:
headhunter n 1: (informal) a recruiter of personnel (especially for corporations) 2: a savage who cuts off and preserves the heads of enemies as trophies [syn: head-shrinker]
I'm a Mechanical Design Engineer. That means I'm part Mechanical Engineer, part Designer. The title is fairly self-explanatory. And yet, for some reason, I'm asked at least once a month by a Headhunter if I would be interested in a job writing code.
The discussion usually goes something like this:
HH: I am a Professional Recruiter from an Agency representing some Fortune 500 clients, some really spectacular companies, and I'm wondering if you'd be interested in pursuing a fantastic opportunity with a medical device company that's really at the forefront of the field. They're doing some fascinating stuff and they're looking for someone to head up an Engineering project. Would you be interested in such a position?
Kate: Sounds interesting. What's the job?
HH: Well, this company's looking for a Development Engineer with a background like yours. Someone really motivated with strong technical expertise. Would you be interested in such a position?
Kate: Hmm. What would I be doing, specifically?
HH: Kate, this position involves heading up the Systems Programming group, coordinating their efforts and managing the content they're producing.
Kate: Umm, do you know that I'm not a Programmer?
HH: OK, well, that's something to think about.
Kate: Yeah, it's really not something I'm interested in. Or qualified for, for that matter.
HH: Well, why don't you fax me your resumé and I'll get the ball rolling on this? I think they may be interested in hearing about your work, anyway.
Kate: No, I would rather not. I have no interest in programming or bossing programmers around.
HH: OK, Kate, well, I appreciate your time. Why don't you fax me your resumé and I'll add you to my database of available Engineers?
Kate: Do you ever look for Mechanical Engineers or Product Designers?
HH: Well, we don't really get much in here along those lines, but I could add you to my database, just in case?
Are these people paid by the resumé? I know they get something if they manage to place me, but they always seem so persistent anyway, even when the job is completely out of my field and unrelated to anything I'd ever consider.
Erik's just accepted a great new jealousy-inducing job in LA. Princeton's not great, but I thought LA would probably be worse, in a completely different way. Turns out the two towns have more in common than I thought -- according to this article, mass nudity and screaming help students relieve stress. Unfortunately, in LA, the students keep their clothes on. From SALTYT. Erik, have fun, buddy. Remember, you are an ambassador.
As an added bonus, if you look at the lower right-hand corner of the Daily Princetonian photo on that UCLA link, I'm pretty sure you can actually see Erik back in 99, just before he whipped off his jacket and shirt and joined the party.
Forgive me if you've already come across this, but Google's compiled a timeline of Usenet Firsts coming from the 20 years of Usenet now available on Google Groups. Some of the included threads are cute, like the first reference to emoticons. Some were spawned by cultural innovations I remember marvelling at (alone -- we had The Source, which was something like Compuserve back then, but only Dad was allowed to dial-up), like this discussion of New Coke. And some are downright poignant, in a Paul Revere kinda way, like this first mention of the Tianamen Square Massacre.
Monday was my company's holiday party.
When I say "party," what I actually mean to say is "Lesson in Why Alcohol Should Be Required at All Group Functions Involving Engineers and Businessmen."
For that matter, when I say "holiday," I guess I mean "Monday," which wasn't technically a holiday of any sort. Well, it was part of Hanukkah, but I'm sure that was unintentional.
The "Lesson," scheduled to begin at noon in the "Party Room," (by which I mean the Training Room, naturally) started about 20 minutes late, and it was quickly apparent that there wasn't going to be enough food. Or seating.
Or alcohol, by which I mean there was "none," since we were all due back at our desks in an hour.
There had been lingering hope all morning that there would be an early holiday dismissal involved, so we could all go spend the Christmas Bonus That Never Came on gifts for our Happily Employed Friends and Families.
But alas, there was no such glimmer of generosity twinkling in the CEO's eye. There wasn't even a glimmer of empathy. In fact, I'm pretty sure I caught a spark of hatred. Or maybe it was just hunger.
He finally found The Mirror Project. I'm so proud. We are rock stars, all.
News from the disruption front -- Marc and I will know in February whether we're moving to Singapore in May, after we get married in April.
Needless to say, unpacking is not going well.
But since I've lived in seven apartments in eight years (and since I'm a horrible, horrible unpacker anyway), I'm not unaccustomed to living out of boxes. This practice does not mesh well, however, with the aforementioned domestic urges. Honey, come sit on the couch with me and snuggle. We could watch the crooked TV or listen to any one of half of my CDs.
So this time, I'm trying to bite the horse's ass and get rid of at least forty percent of what I own before I have to move it all again. Which slows things down considerably, but which will maybe prevent the embarrassment I suffered while moving in November. ("Where did you get all of this crap? You told me you were poor!" -Dad.)
Marc's on a train right now and I'm going to cook spinach and cheese omelettes for dinner. I love the weekend.
Hey, are you in or around Philadelphia? If so, peep this:
Friday, Dec. 14th - 9pm
1508 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Come for the antifolk; stay for the anger.
I'll be the tall girl with the lusty grin.
Things are getting absurd round here.
I'm planning a wedding. No, wait, there's more than that. I'm becoming a breeder. Freedom is fading; comfort is settling in like a dog on a lap, and I'm pretty much okay with that. I've been having these strange domestic urges for a while, and I think the decision to get married was a reflection of similar feelings on Marc's part. I'm doing more laundry. I'm making the bed. I'm even saving money.
An internal audit reveals that these feelings originated around the same time as this country was attacked in a fit of religious fervor. I've heard a lot about comfort sex, but not too much about comfort comfort. I wonder, are weddings on the rise? Are husbands and wives snuggling closer at night? Are you eating at home more? Macaroni and cheesing yourself to contentedness?
So, there's the onslaught of florists and fittings and fondant and frankly, it's overwhelming but it's also kind of, I don't know... cozy? Reassuring?
I worry about Marc (as I worry about all of my friends... a symptom, I think, of genetic origin), working in Manhattan. He's close to the UN. I visited his office for the first time Tuesday and noticed that there are concrete barriers outside the doors on 42nd St, set up in order to block the manic suicidal truck-drivers. I worry about chlorine gas, and being too far underground, and the things I can't even think up myself.
But of course, this isn't Afghanistan. This isn't even Jerusalem. We're fundamentally safe, with nothing to fear but fear itself and the occasional manic imagination bringing its secret plots to fruition. And still I wonder, how can I commit to a family in a time like this? How can I even think about telling a child, my child, that everything's okay and we're okay?
Love is how. I wish for a field of force to surround us, to shroud everyone and keep us safe, and sane. I wish it for myself, and I wish it for you.
Me? I've got a different sort of ploblem*...
* plob = perceived lack of beer -- I've got a fridgeful.
This is disgusting. There are now 47 teachers in JAIL in Monmouth County. Someone's making death threats to members of the Board of Education. The teachers are breaking the law... but there's something about knowing when it's right to defy authority that makes us mature, sentient beings. A teacher taught me that. One teacher will probably miss her son's wedding on Saturday. One teacher cannot find anyone to take care of her daughter. One teacher has to return to work, because he is not tenured, and the union advised him to do so. As I wrote this entry, NJO posted another update saying that THIRTY-EIGHT more teachers have been jailed, bringing the total to EIGHTY-FIVE.
The board wants teachers to pay 12 percent of their [health insurance] premiums through payroll deductions; the teachers union says the proposal would cost each of its members $2,500 a year. Middletown teachers earn an average of $56,300 a year.
When I was growing up, my parents each worked several times with no contract. It must be a terrible thing to choose a job that requires so much of you, intellectually and physically, and then to be placed under continual public scrutiny, and then to be told that your demands for health coverage (or pay, or time off, or WHATEVER) are too strict.
The weblog-reading audience is generally a well-educated, worldly bunch... go thank a teacher. They deserve it.
Critics contend wealthy candidates fuel the campaign money race, create cynicism among the young and make it difficult for less affluent candidates to win races...
Gee, I hate to be cynical, but duh.
Wonderful news for Japan. The Crown Princess Masako of Japan gave birth to a girl Saturday afternoon. Emperor Akihito gets to pick the name! This is gigantic news for the people of Japan. I offer my humble congratulations.
It will be interesting to see what happens now... This baby is in line for the throne, sort of... It's that, or the end of a dynasty -- a law passed in 1889 limits the position of emperor to male royalty. There is a great article from Atlantic Monthly on-line here which goes into some of the details of Japanese royal society. (via Metafilter.)
This, from the Japan Times article:
The baby is the third grandchild for the Emperor and the Empress. Prince Akishino, the younger brother of the Crown Prince, and his wife, Princess Kiko, have two daughters -- 10-year-old Mako and 6-year-old Kako.
... Currently, Prince Akishino is second in line to the throne. Further down the line, the other princes -- the Emperor's uncle, his younger brother and three cousins -- are all older than the Crown Prince and Prince Akishino.
With the birth of the girl to the Crown Princess, every child born to the Imperial family since the birth of Prince Akishino in 1965 has been a girl -- from Princess Nori, 32, the only daughter of the Emperor and Empress, to Prince Akishino's daughters.
I took this picture at Alison Winery during the trip Marc and I took to upstate NY for his birthday. It was great to go upstate on our own and see it as a tourist, rather than as someone who grew up 45 minutes from our destination. You can see the photo here, and more pictures from the trip here. We left on a Friday evening, drove up to Kingston, NY, and stayed at the beautiful Black Lion Mansion. The mansion sits at the very highest point in Kingston (the first capital of NY State) and we had an octagonal room that looked out over the downtown area of Kingston (called the Rondout), the Hudson River, and Rhinecliff.
Saturday morning we were up early and had breakfast with the B&B snobs, then drove to Mt. Tremper to do something I've been wanting to do for a long time -- see The World's Largest Kaleidescope. Okay, there are lots of things I could say about this place, and some of them would be mean. I think I may have built up the experience a little bit in my mind, but suffice to say, there are some crazy leftover hippies in upstate NY, and we found one of their business ventures. In addition to the actual kaleidescope (which is inside a silo, to give you some idea of scale), they've got this odd blacklit area with huge homemade kaleidescopes. There was 70s rock blasting and a bunch of old ladies from a bus tour saying things like, "my, this is fascinating!"
When we left Mt. Tremper, we headed to Woodstock (where we found more hippies) and walked around a bit. After a scenic drive, we headed back to the mansion for a quick nap, and then Marc's birthday dinner at Blue Mountain Bistro. The food was delicious, but the wait staff was a bit overworked and we felt neglected a few times.
Sunday we took the Dutchess County Wine Trail home, where we fully participated in the classic winery gimmick: liquor 'em up, and sell 'em your wares (or, if you prefer, the crack-dealer's motto: first one's free). We found some great Hudson Valley Region wines. I can't wait to open the Clinton Vineyards' Seyval Blanc. Yum.
That's about it! All this as an intro to my Mirror Project photo. Enjoy!
This is so John Grisham it's incredible. A Harvard Microbiologist, an expert in Human Immunology, travels to Memphis (of all places!) and turns up missing... his rental car left abandoned on a bridge with the key in the ignition. These are insane times.
Update: Harvard University faculty and officials have issued several statements on the missing professor.
quick update, in increasing order of current importance (dramatic effect, you know).
1. novel is on hold. there's simply too much other stuff going on. (see below)
2. move is complete, essentially. i'm still surrounded by boxes, but i'm living with the scammer and so far, things are good.
3. marc asked me to marry him. i said yes. we are engaged. we are ecstatic. really, it's silly. we're just bubbly with joy. sickening those around us, i'm sure. two words: singing. telegram. oh, yes.
anyway, now you see. since the novel's on hold, i don't really have much excuse for not writing here more except that it seems i've redistributed that time somehow... mostly to staring at the ring. urgent matter, you know. anyway, be back soon, gotta go bling bling.
We're good kids here in the suburbs. And I think the man knows it. Not any man in particular, you know, the man. Last night we had a little gaffe; a nibble of the flesh of the forbidden fruit... a foray into the world of petty crime, if you will. And oh, you will.
Pizza St*r, oh how I do thank thee. For you have provided me with a haven of pizzaine goodness. An island among oceans of cheesy pasty crap. An Undominoes; A StepPapa John's. And so it was with most humble apology that I forced Eddie of 42 Monkey fame to call you last night after we transgressed upon your holy tableau of trust. Only here in suburban New Jersey would you allow your pizza patrons to eat the pizza before paying. And only here in New Jersey would you allow us to wander out of your establishment without completing promised transaction. And only here would we feel so immediately guilty, so infinitely dirty and unworthy, that we would immediately call you to remit promised payment.
And only here in New Jersey would you know that we'll be back and agree to accept payment "next time" -- for, after all, there is simply nowhere else to go. And even though you always insist on mopping the floor while we sit and chew, thereby releasing a noxious odor of rotting cherries throughout the joint, I'm sure you're right... we will be back, and we'll pay you that fifteen bucks, and we'll apologize profusely, and you'll never forget us, and maybe you'll even put a painting of us up on the wall. I can only dream.
Actually, you're probably just getting ready to write it. You've got good intentions and a plot and a writing buddy. You've even roped your Dad into this charade. In the meantime, you're packing. You're clawing your way out from under a giant laundry pile. You have a few bags of (clean) clothes for Goodwill. Movers have been in and out, providing quotes. You've got a roommate all lined up.
Then things start to get weird. You've got a product to release. Sure, it's technically a peripheral, but still, you've got a day until the end of the month. And you're beginning to worry. You're planning to work late tonight. Like, really late.
Also, your roommate flakes out on you. Again. Not only has he now secured the larger room, but he's thinking that you'll just pay equal halves of the rent. Okay... and also, he'd like it if you could pay half of the "recreation fee." Uh, okay.
Wait, no... not okay. You call him back. This isn't what you discussed. This isn't fair. This isn't right.
Okay. Just a little hiccup. The second little hiccup in as many gassy lunches. Your roommate agrees, but you stop to consider the situation. You know of a coworker looking for a roommate. In a cheaper apartment. And all you'd have to do it be homeless for 3 weeks and put your belongings in storage instead of an apartment.
You call your father.
You call your boyfriend.
You call your writing buddy.
You get in the car and drive two hours to pick up some product from the testing house. You listen to the Powerpuff Girls techno soundtrack. You stop at a Starbucks with a drive through counter. (Oh yes, you are a yuppie.) You never knew that "venti" also means "with two shots of espresso." You consider this fact, and wonder how it is that you were never informed before that "double" therefore means "with four shots of espresso," or, in some languages, "with a shot of adrenaline straight to the nervous system."
You contemplate this, and you consider moving to Singapore.
Sounds crazy? Feh. Sounds like today.
In novel news, I'm all signed up and ready to go on my contribution to sagging bookshelves everywhere. I've got a few pages of notes, a couple of computing possibilities, and the best of intentions. Oh, and a writing partner. Of course, he wasn't my first choice, but Justin just didn't have time for the publicity tour. J also had a hard time coping with releasing the book so soon after his girlfriend's tome, There's Something About Mammaries. But I think I definitely got the sweet end of the brainstorming stick by dragging Tony into this with me. (Dude, he's like... a professional.) But, um, don't tell him that.
Anyway, I'm off to a decent start, I think, at least in terms of preparation and enthusiasm. You can probably expect this weblog to lag a bit in the coming weeks. I apologize in advance to my loyal reader(s). I'll try at least to keep a current word count going (see sidebar). And if you're feeling really charitable, you'll maybe take me out for some coffee and tell me wacky stories I can change just enough to keep you wondering which character is supposed to be you. Naturally, though, any similarities between characters described within and actual persons, either living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Got that? Good, sign here...
All right, thanks. See you in a month.
It's the coolest new word. Bumfuzzled... it's the new hoodwinked. Or maybe whacked-out was the new hoodwinked. I dunno. Anyway. It's passed by here twice today, once in the fear article and once over there at dooce.
Whoever is doing things like this is making me afraid. The fact that incidents like this are no longer immediately making headlines terrifies me.
Check out this edgy Anthrax vaccination site produced by the military. Requires Flash (but oh, so worth it). The soundtrack reminds me of Bonnie Tyler's hit, Holding Out for a Hero. I couldn't get enough of that song in 1985.
Yeah, that's it. Science. "'We are all being guided by science,' said Lt. Dan Nichols of the Capitol police. 'The bottom line on this is science takes time.'" This reminds me of the main debate in my life and career: marketing v. engineering. In Japan I learned that every delay in the project I worked on was spun to make engineers look like bumbling idiots. Luckily, I got a chance to defend the engineers to the customer -- that is rare. The finger-pointing goes global here.
...to a hard know to think. Decent, humane, *and* compassionate. Since 1976. Really.
"DIDYAKNOW that it takes many more muscles to frown than to smile? That's right. You should not smile because BEING SAD AND/OR DISTURBED IS BETTER EXERCISE!" I learned this at Zoomy's games page.
The last time Marc and I were in Harvard Square, we ate at the House of Blues and then went to Urban Outfitters (this is what NYC kids do when they leave NYC) and even though it was about 75° that day, I bought the best pair of tan corduroy Wranglers ever. Which I just happen to be wearing today.
...is what I plan to be tomorrow morning. With nothing but endless traffic circles and baked beans as my guide, I'm off to the city that occasionally sleeps for the Head of the Charles. Boston has always seemed like the wrong city, to me. A city of perpetual yuppidom; crawling with Snaaby Banana Republicans and without even the "almost New York" credibility of Philadelphia. Unlike last year, when I explored mainly on my own, this year I'll be accompanied by Marc and his brother, and we'll be staying with Annisia and James, who are so busy these days that we're not likely to actually see them. But anyway. Promises to be an exciting weekend. Last time Marc and I were near Boston we almost had to move there -- we were so lost that we couldn't figure out which way we meant to go -- and that was actually before we even made it into town.
I've always had a somewhat crappy stereo, until recently. My car was always where I did the most intense listening, anyway. But now that I have something much, um, louder... I've been using it to torment my friends and neighbors. For example, my realtor was just here (why yes! it *is* 7:30 at night. focker.) to put the lockbox back on the door, and so I treated her to a Volume-Level-22 rendition of Tony Hightower's Infomaniac. That's Volume-Level-22 with the GROOVE button depressed, oh yes. Now I'm onto the second disc of the evening (which, truthfully, I'm about to shut off so I can go watch Survivor), and it's still cranked up, and Cake's Frank Sinatra sounds so good I could have sworn there was someone outside the window yelling at me. Turns out there's some shouting background vocals on there. Who knew? Can't hear that over the rotary, you know. Rock on, ya-yas.
weird optical tricks happening here. i blame the radical christian right.
So, I've been thinking about doing this. Writing a 50,000 word novel in November. I've got a concept, really I do, and I think I'm ready to just pound that shit out, editing be damned. I can edit in December. So I think I need to get my grubby paws on a laptop. Ideally I'd like something under $150, with a battery, a harddrive I can save to, and a word processing program. Come on now, who has an old laptop gathering dust under their bed? Let me know ASAP!
For those of you showing apartments you are hoping to rent out. Take the Decon out from under the sink before the prospective tenant arrives. I'm going out on a limb here when I bet that that's not medicinal warfarin. Oh yeah, and patching up the giant hole in the wall wouldn't hurt, either.
I believe each and every one of these Warnings Affixed to Laboratory Doors at MIT.
Milwaukee Art Museum opened the brise soleil this past weekend. Wow.
At the peace rally Marc and I happened upon Saturday afternoon in Washington Sq Park, Patti Smith reminded everyone that the most important tasks at hand for every person are these: 1) keep youself healthy, and 2) don't believe what the news tells you. I'm not one for blind faith (and being on this side of the cynicism fence is the right place to be for that) so I've got number 2 covered. On the other hand, I have been known to skip meals and with the office flu (and yes, it *is* just the flu) coming at me from every direction, it's more important than ever to pay attention to what time I go to bed, when I wake up, and what I'm having for dinner.
At the same time, I'm flirting with the idea of saving up a big ol' bunch of money. Putting away the Victoria's Secret Angel Card for a while, as it were. So while I'd love to cook up a big plate of something fresh and wonderful, I'd be better served by figuring out something to do with what I've already got. Along these lines, I pulled out last year's Christmas gift from Dad, a book of 4-ingredient meals, to see if there was anything I could do with what I've got: beer, spaetzle, an onion, and some frozen french fries. Hey, guess what! There wasn't. But I found some other stuff that seemed to go together and cooked up this treat, and with at least 2 days of leftovers I'm feeling all triumphant... the el cheapo gourmet strikes again!
you will need:
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach
1 can lentils
1/2 clove chopped garlic
dried oregano and basil
1 package pasta, cooked al dente and drained -- I like San Giorgio Rotini
Add a generous pinch of salt and pepper to the onion. Add a small pinch of the oregano and basil.
In a medium saute pan:
Coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Heat the oil until flicked water sizzles. Carefully put the chopped onion and garlic in the pan and cook until transparent. Lower heat to a medium flame. Place frozen block of chopped spinach into the pot and cover. Let cook for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach block has softened enough to separate.
Once the spinach has broken up, uncover pot. Drain the excess liquid from the lentils and add to pot. Add a generous pinch of breadcrumbs to soak up any liquid from spinach. Stir all ingredients together and cover. Let cook for about 5 more minutes, to heat the lentils and continue to soften the spinach.
Lower heat to low flame, add pasta and toss. Yum!
So, I found an apartment, and a roommate. Things were looking up. It was the perfect situation. He said he had no furniture. He said he'd pay the full rent until I could move in. He even knew some people I went to high school with, making him even semi-legitimate from a SWF-standpoint. And then he moved in, with his KING-SIZE bed, and realized he needed the big room. Er, okay. Except the big room comes with the big closet and the bathroom-all-to-yourself... the two features that made having a roommate again a not-altogether-revolting prospect. I am a BIG SPOILED BRAT and I wanted the big room for all my stuff. You know, STUFF. Ugh. So, back to the drawing board. Except now the drawing board is a little blanker than last time. And I'm running out of time.
MP3 poster -- "...this glossy 14" x 18" poster is the perfect way to say, 'I recognize that stealing music is unethical, but I'm protected by my sense of irony.'"
yep, that's the stuff. gotta use the "link" option in IM to force the tag. collecting functionality!
Hmm, nearly. How about this? ...using my new buddy, bloggerbot.
I am posting this message using AOL Instant Messenger, thanks to my new buddy, <a href="http://www.fibiger.org/bloggerbot/">bloggerbot</a>. Amazing?
I'll spare you the ugly phone dialogue. Suffice to say, my officemate is cowering under his desk, there's a crack in the body of my phone, I'm surrounded by shreds of torn up papers, and my realtor still believes we are friends. How can one woman be so resilient, you ask? Sheer, blind, bopped on the head stupidity. Box of hammers stupidity. I don't know what to do when someone weathers the storm of my anger with such empty-headed acceptance. And by offering to fix my heat, no less! I'd rather freeze.
Location: Princeton NJ Area Code: 609 Date Posted: 10/05/2001
PRINCETON STUDIO APT - 400 sq ft., Galley kit., full bath, pvt driveway. $850+ utils. Avail.
Dec. 1st. Call 904-710-2505
um, yeah. right.
is irony dead? simple answer. "no."
ha! the most fun eric i've ever seen.
wow. fired for a weblog. now that's devotion. well, it's some strong sentiment, anyway.
Oh, to be a Wainwright. Oh, to have stuck with piano lessons, to have realized when I started that there was more to it than toiling away in the cold basement for an hour a day, more than plunking out Kokomo chords, more than books of Minuets and Greensleeves. Our bookish parents made Matt and me literate, made us packrats; they made us introspective and intellectual and, well, hell, they even paid for the piano lessons... and my flute, Matt's trombone, guitar, harmonica, slide whistle, and keyboard... and one (just one) week of ballet... but they couldn't give me the interlinear intensity of a Wainwright.
Rufus missed his sister, Martha, last night. He missed her in a way that Matt will likely never miss me -- he requested that the audience at Princeton's McCarter Theater, an audience populated mostly by older folks dressed up for the night out, actually SING Martha's part. Didn't need to teach it, didn't need to plunk it out on the piano first... just played out a few lines on the guitar and waited for the shy melodic airy high part to kick in. And it did. And it was a thing of absolutely simple beauty: "I miss Martha."
Little sister come and sit beside me, beside me
and we'll play a tune on this old piano forte
just for awhile, just for awhile, just for awhile
till your hair becomes a powdered wig, and I become a total bastard
feet that hardly reach the pedal, sold to a tremendous shadow
ave history is on my side
so complain, have no shame
and remember that your brother is a boy
-Little Sister, Rufus Wainwright.
Well, I've neglected to mention this depressing little tidbit: this company is suffering.
Last week, they canceled the holiday party.
And just now, overheard from my boss' office: "woohoo! five o'clock!"
All right, I'm outta here.
I've been asked seventeen times in two weeks why such a drastic haircut was in order.
Split ends; too much work.
Season's change. I was ready to declare Summer over, ready to leave the heartbreak, sweat, agony, mosquito bites and sunburn behind. And all of that hair. Mother Nature is with me on this one, as evidenced by this week's dramatic weather shift. Like a lightswitch with faulty wiring, the connection closed with a lack of conviction, the sun has flickered a few final warm days onto us and is now thoroughly extinguished. Seasons in New Jersey always come and go like this, without the wonderful extended transition awarded me in my youth by a slight change in latitude. Spring and Fall pass with all the production of a curtain dragged by hand across stage. A haircut seemed the appropriate way to acknowledge my surroundings.
Friendship's upheaval. People are coming and going. Last week I said goodbye to Joe and Solmi. Hugged Joe, told him to stay safe, hugged him again. Wished for a forcefield of safety to surround him and his marriage as he sets out for the other coast to start the next phase of life. Asked Solmi to take care of him. Of course she will. I left for the train with tears streaming down my face. I am affected. Erik will leave this Winter. Marc next year sometime. This weekend I may have lost another friend, which tears at my heart... time will tell. It seems I am the only one staying put, and it seems I may be the one that wants to leave most urgently. I am also the one with the least conviction, and the least idea of where it is I'm going. A haircut seemed like a good place to start.
The times, they are a-changin', friends. And I'm not just talking about heartbreak and haircuts. We will never be the same again. This has always been true but lately, it's come as a little bit stronger kick than usual that we're evolving, and there really is no going backwards. Admit that the waters around you have grown. As I walked down 23rd St on Saturday evening, an ambulance with 12 motorcycle police escort screamed by. I tugged at Marc's shirt to drag him back from the corner. I wanted to knock him down and cover him, to protect him, to protect the whole city. We've no idea what's going on and we're reciting the ABC and CBS party lines back at each other. I heard this... oh really? I heard that... We're salon-dot-comming and metafiltering each other into paranoia. There's nothing to do; we're under siege. Staying up so late only puts off laying alone in the dark and wondering when something will jump out from the closet to eat you. Kill me. Torture me. Get it over with and bring it on, or just stay up and up and up until alert means unconscious, reasonable means drunk, open means closed. Love means despair. Peace means war. Strength means fear. Life means death.
Really, though. It's just a haircut.
It occurs to me that I haven't quite been clear. Marc and I do not speak in hypertext. Those were instant messages. Right.
Only, we do kind of hyperspeak, as anyone who's been around us for too long can back me up on.
So, you may have noticed that I'm a little bit of a spaz. Or, maybe you haven't. You will. Anyway, I've got this whole repertoire of self-deprecating stories. And hurray and thank you for providing me a forum in which to spread them even further than my protective little circle of being. So, one of my favorite stories revolves around a punchline where I suddenly realize that "STOP ALL WAY" doesn't mean that this particluar STOP sign requires drivers to reach zero velocity, and that it really ISN'T okay to roll through all other STOP signs.
I know. I know.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. I'm a spaz. And so, apparently, is David. Which I learned today and shared with Marc (whose name I've altered to keep all the cute girls away from him).
K8emak: you have to read this.
K8emak: this is so much like the stop all way story (and truthfully, a bunch of my other stories), i can't believe it.
Petuniahead: that's funny.
Petuniahead: who is that?
K8emak: stuff and stuff.
K8emak: i don't know, some guy!
Petuniahead: well, how did you get there? are you just reading random pages?
K8emak: i have a link to his blog on my blog, and i thought i better go read some of his archives, in case they suck!
K8emak: (they don't; they're really funny.)
(with apology to de Botton)
1. You are my essence. You are the deep meaning in my casually tossed-off comment. You are the bits of cooked-down salted-up meat at the bottom of my frying pan.
2. We are cojoined at hip, lip and zip, insofar as where you go I shall be, sometimes with nothing but my love to offer.
3. The set of my love for you contains the following subsets:
4. You are my ally; you are my enemy. You are my distraction and my companion. My face has known no wrinkles like the smile that stretches it in your presence. My face has known no flood like the tears that rain down upon it in your absence. My face has known no wind like the gales that strike it as I walk away. Your eyes are my valleys, your nose my mountain, your lips my crevasse, your ears my caverns, your hair my field, your neck my equator. I wait for you to walk upon my landscape as I have yours, as you speak, as you rest, as you drive and groom and wait.
... and three pounds lighter. Tonight I took the plunge. Vanity shots, before and after, here.
I'm back in NJ.
When I dropped the top at lunchtime today and reached for an elastic band in the glove compartment, I couldn't help but think that I'm only going to get to do that maybe once or twice more. More on that later.
a hard know to think is listed on The Blog Twinning Project. Twin me! I'm an addict.
In a dramatic turn of events, I've made the achingly swift journey to upstate New York today in order to bury my Godmother tomorrow.
In the absence of half of my spiritual guides (though mostly just in spirit, never in religion), I arrived at the funeral home tonight and hugged my Godfather. I knelt at Mimi's casket and cried, and apologized for not coming sooner.
I was greeted like the forgotten hero who left town long ago to seek greener pastures. Oh... you're in New Jersey... that's right.
I can't pretend my pain is so great as to rival that of Mary's immediate family, but I do feel a little deserted, and like this has really just been an incredibly crappy couple of weeks on the mortality front. My great-uncle died last week, only two weeks after his wife, my great-aunt. And of course, there is the Current Situation in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
At least some good came out of this day -- I was able to visit at the wake with two of my high school English teachers, in fact the two I think of most frequently, and the two that I would have chosen to see on a night like tonight, if that was a choice I ever had to make.
Mr A, who once accused me of being unable to write sans parenthetical phrases, and later retracted and apologized for trying to strip my writing bare of its detail, also sells tip sheets at the track in the summertime.
Mr M had an Icarus Contest on the last day of class, in which a frisbee is thrown and the most spectacular catch, the highest leap, the student nearest the sun, takes the frisbee and the adulation of both class and teacher. I still have the nickel he slipped me on graduation day.
They were each worth a hug, an ego boost, a nice comment about my family, and a short step back to when I was a giant. And they are charming and wonderful men. Mr M brought his lovely wife and I couldn't help but want to move home and have coffee with them occasionally.
I am a notoriously bad judge of character.
What I do is, take the input I get: the words you choose, the mannerisms you incorporate, the choices you make in my presence... I take your whole package and I spin it into something to which I get to react. Sounds normal, right?
This becomes a problem when you take into account my flair for fiction and sensationalist reporting. From which I derive my current outlook on life, which is: the storyteller will always be offended. And it's true. I can dish it out, but I can't take it.
Living like this isn't too hard, usually. It's not so bad to be offended. It gives me a reason to rant. Life is spicy with conflict. But sometimes I get irrationally upset and wind up overstepping friendly boundaries and losing the battle.
A recent conversation with an old friend went something like this:
K: My brother's theatre requirements include a class called Modern Irish Drama.
M: Really. You know, I've known you for 8 years. I could teach that class.
And that about sums it up.
The Moldy Peaches' Who's Got the Crack? is the number 1 mp3 download on Filepile right now.
I'm still beating around the bush on the Japanalog, but you can now see the Milwaukee photos by following the photo link at left. Enjoy... Calatrava, Chihuly, Italian greyhound lovin'.
I just want to put one more somewhat hopeful message up here so I can go home and watch TV and hug my safe friends and family instead of combing all the webpages I've skirted for the last seven days, and that is this...
Peter: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
Jesus: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times.
I'm not a Bible thumper, and I don't really see the Catholic church in which I was raised as anything other than a den of intolerance punctuated by an occasionally touching moment of faith and/or community, but there's something so wonderfully simple and engaging about unconditional forgiveness on a day like this. May you all continue to be safe and sane.
To make donations to the NYC Fire Safety Foundation Fund, you can get the address from Lynda Barry here.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island have been closed indefinitely. From Metafilter (I know, I know... so I'm a big ol' hypocrite.).
I'm sure there's all kinds of sad indecisive prose being written about what ABC is calling
The sky on this coast is a wholly reassuring blanket of color tonight.
Philadelphia stands now one bookend alone.
I drop the top and let the sticky cool rebaptize me.
This is the sky of childhood.
This is the road home.
After hours of travel with
have two forms picture ID ready
line up there
passengers ready to turn on each other
noticing the pilot door peephole for the first time
imagining the lanky flight attendant bound and cut
feeling every turbulent bounce as start of plunge
I am home; I am home.
Safe, sound, afraid, exhausted.
A sign on I-95, just north of town, reads
IN NEW YORK CITY ALL OF LOWER MANHATTAN BELOW CANAL ST CLOSED
There is a sickening sense of patiotism
driving flags north at 80 miles per hour
blocking lanes with candlelight vigil
ours is a forgiving God, emblazoned on billboard
MTV shows videos and Gideon Yago wears a tie
We rush toward adolescence
with marathons of Grease and Footloose
Mrs. Doubtfire and Gimme A Break
I can't begin to be a voice.
The first tears came when I heard Marc's harrowing tale of returning to the Bronx Tuesday afternoon, when it dawned on me that despite several close calls, everyone I know is miraculously safe and accounted for. And the latest, when I saw this, from bwg.
I'm stuck in Milwaukee, though luckily with family, and I don't know for how long I'll be here. I feel like I might as well be on another planet. TV coverage is like watching a movie, and I'm so tired of Peter Jennings. I've managed to worry myself sick. I want to be in New York; I want to be home.
Please, everyone, stay safe and stay sane.
I don't really have anything to say.
Please, I just want it to be over so I can go to sleep.
I'm fine, really really far from home, but fine. And I'll probably be here for a while.
So, there's a little keybox on my door, and a little hole in my heart. Today I'm thinking of moving closer to Trenton, because things look cheaper there. Or, I'll quit my job and move back to New York. Yes, I am serious.
Evil Realtor came to visit at 12:20 today (late but not obnoxious) and informed me that she's pretty sure she can sell the apartment by next week. Oh, goody! The first interested party is coming by at 7 tonight. I would write a complete ACT II of i don't think that will be a problem but really, it is just too depressing. Plus I may have overreacted just a bit to something ridiculous that she said. Before I knew it I was chasing her out. Anyway, let me give you the abridged version:
i don't think that will be a problem
ACT 2 (abridged)
[we join KATE, sitting cross-legged on couch, watching yesterday's Entertainment Tonight, eating cheese sandwich and looking annoyed. There is a knock at the door. KATE untangles her legs and goes to the door. It is EVIL REALTOR.]
Evil Realtor: Hi!
Kate: Hi, Marlene.
ER: something stupid.
Kate: Yeah, I know.
ER: something kind of insidiously mean.
Kate: What do you mean?
ER: something that doesn't really excuse the last thing she said.
Kate: I don't think so, Marlene.
ER: something non-apologetic.
Kate: Look, why don't you just finish so I can get back to work.
ER: [notices plastic turtle on bookshelf.] Oh, you like turtles?
Kate: No, not particularly.
ER: My daughter loves turtles.
ER: She's a turtle person. Is that your mirror?
ER: You'll have to take it down, and fill in the holes you made.
ER: And paint the door.
Kate: I'm not going to paint.
ER: We'll see. Maybe you won't have to.
ER: You know, Kate, moving out won't be so bad.
Kate: I know.
ER: I can help you find an apartment.
ER: You have plenty of time.
ER: An investor might buy this apartment. Then you could stay! See, you'll be fine.
Kate: Yes, that is one possibility among many.
ER: something equally silly and non-conclusive but presented as a positive conclusion.
ER: something vaguely insensitive.
Kate: I guess.
ER: something farewellish.
Kate: Okay, I think that's a good idea.
ER: Here's my card.
ER: a statement of intent to sell the apartment in less than a week.
Kate: Wow, this is a great way to make money, isn't it?
ER: Uh, yes. I enjoy helping people.
Kate: Right. Helping them right out the door. Well, thanks for coming by, I guess I'll be hearing from you.
ER: OK! You have my card! Call me if you need anything!
Kate: [eyes rolling in despair] Right.
ER: So nice to see you Kate!
Kate: Bye. [lets EVIL REALTOR out of apartment. There is a jingling of keys and the sound of the keybox being fitted to the doorknob. KATE turns around and leans backwards on door, securing deadbolt and chain with a dramatic urgency.]
ER: [from outside] Goodbye!
Evil Realtor: Kate, hi, it's Marlene. I've been trying to reach you! Have you gotten my messages?
K: Marlene, yeah, right, hi. Sorry, I've been in Japan.
ER: Oh, how nice!
K: Yeah, whatever. What's up?
ER: Well, I'm going to be the listing agent for your apartment, and I'm going to need a key, and I'll need to come do another walk-through as soon as possible.
K: Oh, my apartment is for sale?
ER: Oh, yes, and I need to know, if we needed to move someone else in there early, would that be a problem?
K: Excuse me?
ER: [pregnant pause] I mean, if, say, we gave you sixty days' notice, and we needed to get someone in there in, say, November, would that be okay with you?
K: [does not respond]
K: [pitch of voice slightly raised] Is this a joke? You can't be serious.
ER: Well, I mean, we would give you sixty days' notice.
K: November is fifty-seven days away, Marlene.
ER: Er, right, well, I mean, 60 days, within reason.
K: Well, what do you think the owner would say if I asked, "Can I move out early, thereby breaking the legal document we have each signed in the presence of a notary?"
ER: I don't think that would be a problem, if he could find another tenant to move in.
K: Okay, then, I don't think this would be a problem, if he can find me another apartment to live in.
ER: Oh, I don't think that will be a problem. I can find you an apartment.
K: Sure, for a thousand dollars a month.
ER: Oh, well, if that's your budget, you definitely won't have a problem.
K: Marlene, I have to go. What do you need from me?
ER: Well, just a key. Oh, and an appointment for the walk-through.
K: [sighs] When is good for you?
ER: Oh, just about any time...
K: How about Friday at 12:15?
ER: No, I can't come then.
K: Okay, then you'll have to wait until after next week. I'll be out of town.
ER: Oh, well, I suppose I could come Friday. Did you say 12:15?
ER: Can we make it 12:25?
K: [loud sigh] No. I will be there at 12:15, and I need to leave at 12:25.
ER: Um, okay then.
K: Bye Marlene. [hangs up]
First, jetlag sucks.
Second, my apartment is for sale. Again. This time, I don't think they are kidding. Realtors are calling. I'm acting like I'm still in Japan, at least for now. I have no idea where I will go or what I will do, but the point of decision-making is looking imminent. My lease expires at the end of December.
Third, my car, my beautiful baby, my chariot of thunder, has a big fat dimple in his cheek, thanks to a presumably white vehicle of SUV size that I suppose could not maneuver into one of those extra-wide Newark Airport parking spaces. No note on windshield. Just the dent, like a calling card or piss on a hydrant, enough of a mark I suppose that nothing further needed to be said.
Still, I am grinning like a dope. I am awake beyond my energy. My brain is back. Things are going right and well, and I'm incredibly, stupidly, simply happy, thanks to hugs and kisses and funny jokes, as usual.
mmm hmm. yes, i am in japan, still. wild times, these. little people, big drinkers.
anyway, just wanted to say quickly, am alive. am wonderful. am lost, slightly.
also, i shamefully admit, i have checked my referral logs, and who the hell is searching for "teacher fucks student," then "teacher fucks student pictures," and finally "TEACHER FUCKS STUDENT"??? and clicking through to iscatter each time? wake the hell up! no teacher fucking here!
get out of the house, you people of the world!
okay, full recap soon. i adore you all!
bye for now.
I'm sitting in Newark Airport on a get2net terminal with what has to be the worst keyboard ever. BUT it is free. 100%, at least so far.
Anyway, I'm a little upset, the normal pre-flight jitters just now augmented by a last second call to Mom, only to discover that my Godmother does, as suspected, have systemic lymphoma. Damn.
This discovery, coupled with the stress of getting Mom to write down the flight info and having Mom chew me out for being more or less incommunicado all weekend, has driven me to worry. Ick.
All right, enough stressing out. In 24 hours I'll be in Japan with a whole new set of worries.
No, I'm not giving up on the weblog. I've just been a little distracted lately...
You may have heard the rumors. It's true, I'm off to Japan for a week. I just got the official word and I'm leaving Monday. I think this is going to be a fantastic trip. I'm being flown over for a week, but I'm only working for 2 days, so I'll get to explore a bit. I am really looking forward to it, but I do tend to stress out before traveling, and this is no exception. Last night I had a minor freak-out about everything that needs to be done before I can leave. And with Joe's wedding Sunday, I'm leaving for the city tonight! Still have to pay the bills, pick up travelers' cheques, call the landlord, pick up prescription med, finish packing, and not have an emotional breakdown or get sick. A tall order.
Still, how could I turn down a free trip to Japan? Yesterday I sat quietly worrying at my desk and as my gaze wandered past my monitor to a small paperweight I've had sitting there for years. It's an object that has followed me everywhere, always an afterthought as I move to a new desk. It first found me in fifth grade. The Paperweight first belonged to a friend of my mother's. She was The Librarian (and a fantastic Librarian at that) and her daughter and I were good friends. Our families traveled together during childhood, and Kendra and I would stay up late at night in sundry hotel rooms yelling fermez la bouche at the top of our lungs to the tune of the ascending four notes of the Addams Family theme song while we greasily discovered the virtues of the deconstituted/reconstituted fizzy potato wonder that was (and is) Munchos. I was not aware of The Paperweight during this era.
At some point, the Librarian met The Fifth Grade Teacher. The Fifth Grade Teacher was a sensitive soul, with too much makeup, not enough ironing, and a keen tendency to bring out the sense of wonder that the students, in the thick of their burgeoning adolescence, were so keen to quash. ...the students, of which I was, I suppose, The Student, for the purpose of this story. So, The Student (that's me) would listen to The Fifth Grade Teacher's sensitive tales of woe, would visit the home of The Fifth Grade Teacher, would help select records to play during journal writing period, and would help The Fifth Grade Teacher clean her desk. Which is where The Student first encountered The Paperweight.
The Paperweight is three-halves by one by three-halves inches large. It was probably constructed as follows: Pour opaque black resin into mold, to depth of one-quarter inch. Allow to cure. Place inch high gold replica of Shinto temple on top of black resin. Cover (and fill mold) with clear resin. Allow to cure. Remove rectangular block from mold. Carefully strike clear resin with mallet, creating web of partially fractured cracks distributed evenly on clear surface. Details of temple should be difficult to discern through cracked resin.
The Paperweight mesmerized The Student. While tears leaked from The Fifth Grade Teacher's eyes, because the other students would not listen during class, would not open their hearts in their journals, would not invert their fractions before replacing the division sign with the multiplication sign, The Student stared through the cracks at the shrine, wondering about The Paperweight, what it was, where it came from, what it meant.
At the end of fifth grade, The Fifth Grade Teacher took The Student aside, and presented The Student with The Paperweight. "This was a gift, a gift from The Librarian to The Fifth Grade Teacher... and now it is a gift again, from The Fifth Grade Teacher to The Student."
That was the first I knew that The Librarian was involved. I have worked some excruciatingly long days over the past year, and I've spent a good many hours staring at The Paperweight, searching for inspiration. When I look at The Paperweight, I think of the faith that my teacher had in me, and the wonderful times I had traveling the country with my mother's friend and her family, and how hard I have worked on this product. And I'm proud, and I'm nervous, but I'm getting a little rush from knowing that The Paperweight gets another incidental significance in my life this week.
I should have tons of pictures when I get back. In the meantime, you can see my first few digital camera experiments. I'll check in on this blog if I can, from Japan.
I'm so happy to be in-the-fold. If you aren't already, please use this great wonderful tool.
We get it, dear. You are a freak. A numbskull. A halfwit. You are Billy's little girl. You would die for him. You have already died for him several times over. You fuck in the car. You fuck on the lawn. You fuck on the fucking roof. You think a vial of your own blood is a romantic gift. You think a tattoo of your gross old man of a husband is a romantic gift. You think letting a horse nuzzle your bosom while you throw your mangy head back in ecstasy is a romantic gift. You believe you have bestowed something precious upon this earth, and I'm not referring to the two C-sized somethings you have bestowed. You believe your characters embody your spirit, or is it your spirit that embodies the characters you have betrayed? I mean, portrayed. You collect knives. Quod me nutrit me destruit. We get it. It's wonderful to see you so free, and so unfettered. It's lovely to see you so lovely. Now, my fellow long-haired brunette, it is time to act like the grown-up I know you have chased to your most frightening depths. Let her out, little angel, and join the rest of us here on Earth!
Actually, now that I read the packaging, I see that the Intense Peach Smint flavor is a little dubious as a Vitamin. While they are surely quite summery tasting and I'll admit their intensity is almost overwhelming, it takes a serving size of TEN to get 25% of my RDA of Vitamin C. Hmm. I wonder how long the FDA will allow this to go on?
Also, it's not really so much of a rotary Pez thing, as a straight Pez copy with the mechanism mounted internally. (No decorative head.)
As an engineer with a particular (some might say obsessive) fascination with consumer product packaging, I can't help but notice that breathmint and candy packaging has really come a long way in the last 6 months or so. Take, for example, Certs Coolmint Drops, packaged in a "stylish slide-top" box. The oversized flap has a half-circular cutout to allow a single mint to escape without having to actually open the package all the way. Or Certs' other packaging wonder, their Powerful Mints. They come in a superthin package about the size of two credit cards. The mints are probably poured into one half of the case, shaken flat, and I think the other half of the case is laid on top and ultrasonically welded into place. So cool. But the packaging that most appeals to the geek in me is that of Smint, the king of mint packaging (not to mention the kind of mints -- they're really good!). Check the website, there's an animation of the super cool distribution mechanism, which I think is sort of an internal, rotary version of Pez (the classic -- that's old-school candy popping!). And now, lo and behold, you can get Smint in the US! I stopped at Target at lunchtime today and picked up a pack of mint and a pack of Intense Peach vitamin C drops. Woohoo!
When I hear you make fun of New Jersey, it is like I am hearing someone make fun of my little brother. He's sometimes annoying and crass, but damn it, he's my brother! Only I can make fun of him. When you do it you are being cruel, attacking someone smaller than you.
oh, that's so good. oh, baby, right there. yes. mmm...
last night i was awake at 4:17 AM, rubbing my feet together in topical agony, like the dog with the twitch that the family keeps saying they should really show the vet.
left foot: two mosquito bites.
right foot: four mosquito bites.
all bites in radial pattern around circumference of foot, including one on each most sensitive of foot locations, the tender instep... the g-spot of the foot... the taut clenched arch of a muscle that calls out to be rubbed... now needier than ever as it demands to be stroked again and again, now like a junkie whose satisfaction never makes it beyond skin-deep, the meat now forever tense, the skin now pale and scratched raw. needing a new drug i reached for my nubby post-row sandals this morning but the soles could only tease, a little too flat-footed to offer true relief.
oh, it was torture, until just now when i remembered the little packets of cortisone cream in the company medicine cabinet.
alas, it will be sock and shoe season soon, and i'll be longing for the flip flop days of summer.
If I were Kevin Smith, I would include the following scene in the upcoming Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back... now don't be upset if it's really in there. I have no prior knowledge of the script, or the characters, or the plot, or nuthin'. I'm just a writer in New Jersey... we may tend to think alike. Also, language alert. What can I say? Jay's a potty-mouth.
Jay: Which movie should we see, you big fat fucker? I mean, we could see the fucking sad prissy shit and maybe there'd be bitches in there that would, you know, wanna get all funky-cold-medina with us in the back row, what do you think you big bitch? You big mutha'? You wanna go smoke some shit up in the balcony with me? Your mother was just smokin me up there in the balcony, bitch, you want me to show you where? Or maybe we could see the action shit? The one with the kung fu bastards and the exotic bitches? Yeah, you like that shit, don't you, you big bastard? What's this Clerks shit? What's with that shit? What's it in, fucking black and white? Fucking old school View Askew bastards, fucking lazy poor-ass no money for film school bitches? You wanna see that?
Silent Bob: You know, I would, but every time I watch one of those Kevin Smith movies, all I can think is, I could have made that myself. I should be writing more.
It's no secret. Old people are scary. And now there's proof. Check out The Smoking Gun's felon photographs -- all old, all scary, all convicted and sentenced -- but who knows how many more of these scary old people are out there???
A little too close to home! The first human case of West Nile Virus in the Northeastern US this year has been confirmed. Here's the story of the elderly Staten Island woman who contracted the disease, and here's an outline of when larvicide spraying will take place in Staten Island. Don your masks, kids, if you want to have kids. And if you're feeling a little pneumoniac, call your doctor quick.
Do you know what you're breathing? The Village Voice had this interesting, though perhaps somewhat sensational story a couple of weeks ago on mosquiticide turned deadly neurotoxin!!! The problem was caused by improper storage, and the chemicals were used anyway.
Panicked? Curious? Just want more info? This article has a pretty extensive list of questions and answers about the flavivirus. And here is a FAQ from the NYC DOH. NPR also ran a story about precautions being taken in New York and New Jersey, including the strategic monitoring of seroconversion rates in sentinel chickens. Yes, that's right... sentinel chickens. You can find a link to the Real Audio story here.
a pleasant weekend.
I had a wonderful weekend with my parents. They came to visit and to watch me get my butt kicked at yesterday's regatta. My folks were so cute, all huddled under their giant umbrella, sitting on those campy folding chairs, trying to read their paperbacks between races. Mom's right leg was soaked from poking out from under the umbrella. They were real troopers. My mom yelled from the shore as we rowed past: "Go Matilda from Carnegie Lake!" The girls in my boat made fun of my parade wave as we rowed back to shore after the race.
new dream car... sort of.
First, let me say, I wouldn't buy an electric vehicle. But if I were going to buy one, this would be it:
Posted on the Cooper Union website is a plan to "modernize" academic facilities and add a total of about 300,000 sq. feet of commercial-use space, and about 30,000 sq. feet of street-level retail space, all in the name of creating revenue. As usual, there is no user-friendly description of the plan on the CU site, and some of the detail files start mid-sentence so I'm sure they aren't publishing the entire document, so I've taken a look and I offer the highlights here.
This program would entail the demolition of the current Nerken Engineering Building and the Abram S Hewitt Building.
Also on the agenda: Demapping and related disposition of Taras Shevchenko Place (also known as Piss Alley, or a great place to park if you keep Febreze in the car).
Phase 1 will be the demolition of the Hewitt Building, and the construction of a new 9-story academic facility in its place. Phase 2 is relocation of academic programs to the new building, demolition of the Engineering Building, and the development of commercial space on the former site of the Engineering Building, with some academic space (4 of 15 floors to be used for academic purposes, 1 one those academic floors to be partially subterranean).
Construction is planned from 2003 to 2006.
It's that time. Again. It's the time when I realize I'm up later than I ought to be, that I'm sadder than I have any right to be, that I'm busier than I admit I could be, and that I'm older, fatter, more frizzy, pockmarked, rude, and frazzled than I ever thought possible.
Physical exertion (is it the heat? or is it just that I insist we row in the heat? does eating vegetarian really mean that the heat affects you less?) leads to mental exhaustion (but really, who gives a damn?)... leads to frenetic blog entries (welcome.), reasserts my self-evaluation: Exhibitionist, capital E, with nothing, really, all that great to exhibit (see notes on blog, above.). When I wanted to be normal, I was a freak, and now that being normal sucks, I'm just a quiet geek with a penchant for math jokes and reality TV trivia...
Which reminds me of a great one: What do you get when you cross a duck with a mountain climber? (Answer below.)
And why oh why did I get home at 10:15 and excitedly sit down on the couch for the last 15 minutes of Real World? Hint: it wasn't for the air conditioning, and it wasn't because my couch is super-comfortable.
And that's about all I have to say. It's hot. Damn hot. ("Hottest thing is my shorts... I can cook things in it!")
**you can't. A mountain climber's a scaler. Hey! I've got a million of them. If you liked that one, let me know. Maybe we can talk sometime. You know, Eigenvalues, ... um, lightsabers... Paul Auster... I'll tell you about all the megapixels in my camera, you correct my grammar and take me to foreign countries to see the elephants jump over a fence.
It's that time. It's the time when I begin to admit that my stomach is upset. The acrid smoke of the clueless pyroculinary neighborhood watch has passed. He's moved from lighter fluid to pork tenderloin, sizzling up here in puffs of oily delight.
The relief of the evening breeze brings waves of nausea drafting behind and I can't sit here by the window much longer. I crank up the volume. The Chord is Mightier than the Sword, indeed.
How can one man grill every night?
It's that time. It's the time when my downstairs neighbor gets out the grilling tools, rolls the Weber directly under my windows, pours entirely too much lighter fluid on the coals, and attempts murder by asphixiation.
But tonight I refuse to lie down and pass out like usual. I've cranked up the stereo, and I have turned the speakers to the window, and I have thrown open the sash. There will be battle in the suburbs tonight.
... the one where you find out you're on the web where you didn't think you were? I just had a flash of:
Geeks on parade.
I just wish people would notice more often. Just received a letter that starts like this:
etc. Um, hello? It was from someone named Bill.
pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
Yes, I know my archives are intermittently not working. I'm working on it, sort of. Mostly what I mean is that I'm reloading the page over and over again, wondering what the problem could possibly be. Thanks for noticing.
As of today, I've officially been here for four years.
And so I thought to tell the story of how I ended up here. It's a story many of you may have heard, or even have been a part of, but it's an interesting story, nonetheless, I think. Shows you my haphazard nature, my adaptability (?), and my neuroses.
It was 1997. I had just graduated. I was coming off the end of a very messy breakup. We had split up the CDs (I lost Frampton Comes Alive and Blues Traveler, but I got the rack...), he'd moved out (and on), and I was a mess. I was hardly eating. I would sleep in 2 hour fits and then get up and go running. I had an overwhelming sense of physical elongation -- my limbs felt stretched and my extremities distant. Whenever I sneezed I felt certain I would vomit. I was living out the end of a lease in an apartment I had grown to despise, not working, with no job prospects to speak of... I wasn't writing; I was hardly thinking. I spent my days wandering the city. I occasionally bummed cigarettes off of strange men.
At the end of June my lease expired and I moved upstate to my parents' house. I put all of my belongings in storage so I wouldn't get too comfortable. I had a vague plan to move to Troy or Albany and share an apartment with Joe when he returned to RPI in the fall. I was going to work at the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit at the state museum. It was a six month exhibition that I figured was perfect for me, because I knew it would end and I would have to make a decision about where to go next.
I stayed with my parents for all of 4 weeks, during which time I was probably home about 8 days. I was back in the city almost every weekend. The time I was home was spent updating my CV, trying to make myself sound like less Engineer, more inspired-math-whiz-mad-scientist. Surely there was someone looking for what I had...and who knows, maybe if I had stuck around to finish that search, I would be in a very different place today.
Instead, I got a call from the placement office at college saying there was a company looking for a Mechanical Engineer. They had seen my CV and my transcript, and were still interested... imagine that. The company called later that day and I was intrigued. This was a company doing good things, saving lives... with economic growth and a fascinating little product. New Jersey, though... I cycled through the reasons to reject the idea -- bad location, a job I'd convinced myself I didn't want, bad location, bad location. But I visited anyway, and sure enough I took the job.
My first night here, I cried.
What evolution is this, I wondered, that I have meandered into this little niche of being, so far from where I imagined myself, while still just the same little girl as always? I mourned for the fact that I had nothing I loved enough to regret giving up.
But circumstances frequently appear dire at first glance. What I thought was a mistake turned out to be character-building. I was okay alone. I found out how to amuse myself. I played lots of one-player chess for a while. Eventually I started rowing and realized I had missed being fit. I started writing again (and here we are). I found friends at work, and then gave them up when I realized they were all idiots. I spent a lot of weekends not going into the city. I bought a car I can only drive here and now. I calmed down.
And really, I think I've turned out okay, so far. I still cry sometimes, because I still don't have the passion I think I should have, or because I'm afraid of a crazy lunatic climbing through my window, or because I don't know what to do next... but I don't regret moving here, and I'm excited to figure out what comes next and go do it.
So raise a glass to four years for me, and if you have any suggestions, I'd be more than willing to entertain 'em. Thanks!
I'd like to dig in really deep here.
What I want to know is, what the hell is up with all the damned colons? Does ::iscatter:: really look better than just plain old iscatter? Or should I add some periods, too? ..::iscatter::..? Is that better?
Someone, please, educate my novice ass on this. When is the use of multiple colons appropriate? Is this some html-insider trick? Will it bring me more search engine hits? Does it make my text more pleasing to the eye? Will it help our children score better on the analogy section of the Verbal SAT?
Or, as I suspect, does it just substitute for lack of a decent free image server? Making graphics where there are none? Is it meant to (dare I even suggest what is sure to be interpreted as insult?) enhance content? Perhaps your readers will be blinded by all those dots, and forget to think about what you've scrawled for them?
Please, let's all try to think about grammar just a little bit here, and not just punctuate with wild abandon where we think it will look nice.
Yes, it's true. The bastard's kidnapped my Celebrity, and won't return it until I fulfill his insane demands --
1. kick his bowling ass,
2. help him meet Joey "the" Fatone,
3. allow him to create copyright-defying freebased versions for all of his "indie" friends.
He has an N*Sickness, friends, and it is time to stop enabling pop-junkies like Tony Hightower. When his own friends sit around Sidewalk Cafe, of all places, and extoll the virtues of boy bands right in his face, I think we may have gone too far. Please, someone close to Tony, recover my CD and drop me an e-mail to let me know he's safe. Oh, make him over! We can then discuss arrangements for returning the disc to its rightful owner. And soon.
May I suggest a clean, family-safe alternative?
I just surfed over to Rolling Stone for the cover story on N*Sync. I hit the page that advertised "More about N*Sync," which I think was a mesage board or photos of Justin Timberlake or something, I couldn't really see beyond the brilliant contrast of the banner-ad to the pop-up ad. Ah, duh.... stunning.
Somehow it escaped me that Forever Young by Rod Stewart was based on Bob Dylan's song of the same name. But did you also know that there's a version out there by The Supremes? My parents probably own it on vinyl. I'll have to check.
My favorite diva, Neil Diamond, was on the Today Show today. Katie asked him if Neil Diamond was his real name, and he said indeed it is. This was a topic of conversation in the car on the way to Ohio, actually. Anyway, Neil said (and this FAQ confirms) that he did consider changing his name. Options on the table? Noah Kaminsky and Eice Cherry. Wow.
Last night I tried on dresses at Macy's. I guess I missed Karen. I also sort of convinced myself that I need a dress, that I can't repeat dresses at all of these upcoming weddings. So, apparently, the popular thing these days is a hem that looks like you sewed it yourself. I am six feet tall. Clothes are generally too short anyway, and so what should be an ankle hem is usually somewhere mid-shin for me, knee-length becomes racy, and miniskirts are just absurd. And the last thing I need is to call more attention to an already misplaced hemline.
But fashion victim that I am, I decided if it works on millions of preteens it might work on me, and so I grabbed a dark blue sparkly dress with a hem that was longer on the right than the left, sort of cascading down all mermaid-like. I also tried on a black dress with a feather neckline (Karen, that was just for you, and I swear, it looked pretty good), a gold dress with little glass beads scattered all over the place, a black skirt with a beaded hem, and a t-shirt that read "Love is War." I know, I know.
Naturally each item was a mistake of varying intensity. Except the skirt, which I bought. But the mermaid dress, that was the worst. Women of America, what kind of crack are we smoking??? I do not exaggerate when I say that I looked like a drag queen as Carmen Miranda. And since it's probably not in my best interest to command more attention than the brides at these weddings, I quietly put it back on the rack. But by then, I was covered in light blue glitter. Annisia would call that retribution for every Christmas and birthday card I've ever given her, but me? I just call it reason to buy N*Sync's new album today.
Which I did at lunchtime today. Makes me feel dirty, I have to say. Dirty Pop!
That last entry reminded me of a sign that adorned the change machine at the laundromat on 2nd Ave at 3rd St:
THIS CHANGE MACHINE FOR COSTUMERS ONLY
Last night when I picked up my mail I noticed this, written in black magic marker on the side of my communal mailbox:
When I went inside I noticed this, written in black magic marker on the back of a catalog I'd just picked up:
After nearly three weeks off, I returned to the lake this morning at 5:30 to sub in a boat destined for the Masters' Rowing World Championship Regatta coming up at the end of August in Montreal. My hiatus was imposed mainly as a weak form of objection to the participation of my club in several masters' regattas this summer, as opposed to smaller, community club regattas for which I would have been eligible.
Disaster. Of eight rowers who were scheduled to row, 6 showed up. Three were on time, three were late. Two were no-shows. I know you've heard the mantra, rowing is the ultimate team sport. That's a subject of frequent debate, but when it comes to actually putting the boat on the water, it is tragically true.
Rowing a 4-person boat was an option I didn't want to suggest, since I knew they would send me home (I was just a sub) and let the people actually participating in the regatta row. But as it turned out, two people were tired and begged off, so I got to break my fast anyway, albeit late (by late I mean we put shell to shore at 6).
Ahh, morning rowing. Once I was on the water I realized my novice symptoms had returned -- tight hamstrings, weak delts, and spaz syndrome, with the oar flailing more than a little bit on the recovery. And I was hungry! Last night's late dinner meant I didn't eat much.
But still, as always, the overwhelming sense of serenity that the lake affords returned easily. I noticed that, since my last row, the white duck had found a mate, a half-white duck to follow it around. Eileen, the tree where the cormorants nest (and which earned its name from the 25° or so angle at which the trunk overhangs the water at the bend in the lake) still smelled like the dead fish the birds carry home. The starboard rowers still carried their oar handles too high, the ports too low.
The row was short and filled with drills. I think the coach may have been helping me ease back onto the water. We were back ashore by 7:15 and as I walked back to my car I thought about my insane schedule of upcoming regatta practices. And I realized that I'm ready to be back on the water. My awe for the sport is back with enthusiasm to spare. Bring on the races.
If right now was a year ago, I would probably be eating tabouleh with Millie. It's that kind of hot night, where all you want to do is chop, maybe boil just a little bit, and then sit around and soak something up with a pita. Instead there's nobody left here but boys. And they all eat at the Route 1 brass and ferns and don't really chop much at all.
If right now was a year ago, actually, Millie and I would have already eaten a good portion of the tabouleh (along with Rob, though he from the special onion-free dish) and Millie would be sound asleep, or nearly asleep and wishing Erik and I (mostly just I) were quieter with the Playstation. Rob would chuckle and go give Millie hugs to help her fall asleep, and eventually I would head off for home with my little dish of leftover tabouleh which I would have to absolutely swear to return to Millie.
Sometimes in the middle there were a couple of beers (generally Sam Adams as long as they had been left properly standing upright in the refrigerator), or a bike ride to the grills (with veggie burgers wrapped in foil and zip-tied to my handlebars), or a softball to the noggin followed by a trip to the doctor (and Millie with softball-stitch imprints in her forehead and one bleached eyebrow), or Harry Potter talk about how hard it was to do anything other than finish the fourth book (like even brush your teeth or lock the door), or maybe just lazy speculation about what Princeton would be like when we didn't all live there anymore.
Well, I'm still here. It's still hotter than I can bear (and I have the A/C on, thank you) and I'm still obsessing over boys and Millie's still got more tomatoes than me, but now hers grow somewhere just outside of a major metropolitan area on the wrong coast.
But in the spirit of dwelling on the past (a spirit that's taken up permanent residence here in this house) Millie dropped me an e-mail tonight to see if I'd like to cut out of work early and hit the quarry for a swim before dinner. Millie, I sure would. I'll meet you guys there. Do I still have veggie burgers in your freezer?
She also sent the tabouleh recipe. Go chop with a friend and enjoy.
Here you are Kate :)
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 c. bulgar wheat
1 T. olive oil
1 t. pepper (or less)
1/4 t. salt
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 c. flat-leaf parsley
1 red onion, chopped
3 scallions (green part only), sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Bring the juice and 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil. Stir in bulgar, oil,
pepper and salt. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until the water is
absorbed, 20-25 minutes.
Mix everything else together, add the bulgar and chill.
I still don't know Marc's real weblog address, but he was inspired to start Truth where you should go right now and post everything you know is true, just like I did.
If Erik had his own weblog, he could have posted this himself. Apparently he has found us out, fellow Kates. Instead he just e-mailed it to me and told me again how much he hates pants.
You might have noticed that I changed the page around a bit, you know, within the very limited scope of my ability. (I pretty much just changed the colors.) If you were dazzled by my changes, wait until you see Caroline's website. I've been reading her site ever since she was just a wee little Cooper student, and I've always found it stunning. While technically far more than just a weblog, the journal on her site entitles her to listing as such over there in the left column. Her dream log is also very cool, kind of like the weblog of a whole second person (a very sleepy person). And now she's at big bad NJIT so I suppose we fall in the same category of former Cooper students who woke up one day in NJ and who are now trying to answer the Talking Heads' question, Well, how did I get here?
Letting the days go by...hi Caroline!
barnes and ignoble.
I'll admit it. I shelled out the money for the B+N Readers' Advantage card. I have already made my money back a couple of times over. I love books. And growing up in my family taught me how to shop for books with wild abandon. I can remember wandering through Northshire with my arms literally full of books. I also frequented the library but there was something much less rewarding about reading a book when you knew it wasn't yours to keep. But for the long summer weeks I spent at my grandmother's house it was all I had. We would stop by the library for books and go for a walk on the beach. Well, we called it a beach, but it was sand on the shore of the Hudson. Yes, I have been swimming in the Hudson.
But that's another story. This is a story about gentrification; a story about consumers choosing quantity over quality, bulk over brains, malls over market, common over character. My general feeling is that I'll always support the little guy, if the little guy is worth supporting. I'd never buy a substandard product just for the sake of bannering my allegiance to Mom and Pop. So while I do support independent booksellers, I also buy a whole lot of books in not so great places. Which doesn't stop me from being excited about B+N, until the other day.
Right, so, the point is that they have whatever book you want in stock, right? Maybe not *any* book, you'd have to go on-line for that, but still, if there was, say, a bestseller that you wanted to pick up for a light summer read, and they didn't have it in stock, that would be crazy, right? I'm not talking about a Harry Potter phenomenon type book here, just a fairly popular book. Let's say it was High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby... a book popular not only in its own right, but also as the book version of a movie!
And let's continue down Insanity Lane for a moment, and say that your friend suggested an equally popular book as a substitute for this leisurely summer read, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers. Well, they must have that, right? I mean, browse on over to any weblog, it's what the people are reading! Affected hipsters in black are clutching it on the subways of life! But no, they don't have that in stock, either.
This really happened to Erik. I'm just the friend making the (admittedly somewhat overread) suggestions. So what the hell are they carrying these days at our favorite book supercenter? Well, I'll tell you. Coffee. Coffee and kitschy office supplies in the hottest summer colors. Oh, and coffee mugs. And greeting cards. Well, at least you can get them at a 10% discount.
Enjoy your proverbial latte, America... we have brought this upon ourselves.
Marc started a weblog, but won't reveal the name until he makes an entry. I know it isn't any of the following:
Can you figure it out?
Erik's also been toying with the idea, I think. Maybe Erik could get singleguy.blogspot.com (not taken) and write the dating memoir he's been thinking about. Or dontyouhatepants.blogspot.com (also not taken) and write about how much he hates pants. Or rockstar.blogspot.com and write about Philantifolk and his upcoming album release. I dunno, just a thought. Get in on these blogspot domains now, kids... they're going fast?
I'd heard the rumor, but I didn't believe the logistics could be true. I was wrong. In a bizarre path-crossing, Monica Lewinsky gave a talk to Princeton students in Cooper Union's Great Hall. Umm... okay. There are so very many things wrong with this. I'd like to discuss celebrity status and our cultural designations thereof. Why do we still pay attention to Monica Lewinsky? Why is she speaking in the Great Hall? I know Cooper doesn't need money that badly. In particular, why is it that we develop this fascination with and repulsion from all things Monica? The article touches on this subject. Still, please don't go buy the book. Please don't buy her handbags (no, Monica, you cannot pawn off your baggage onto other American women). Just please don't talk or think about her at all unless for some strange reason she speaks at your alma mater to a group of students from the university by which you are currently surrounded. All right, thanks.
home of the whuppin.
What I need right here is a good, free image hosting site. Angelfire is not that company. Hence I have removed the non-image that appeared here earlier.
On a lighter note, I'm really looking forward to this weekend, when Marc, Leslie, and I will be accompanying KB on his final pre-wedding hurrah. We're going to hit each and every roller coaster at Cedar Point and then turn right around and head back. Nothing like a quick jaunt to Ohio. It's been a while since I've taken a decent roadtrip, and this one is shaping up to be great. I love these directions:
NEW YORK, NY to Sandusky OH: 518 mi.; 10 hrs., 15 mins.
West on Holland Tunnel (NY)
West on Pulaski Skyway (NJ)
West on US 1 (NJ)
Northeast on New Jersey Turnpike (NJ)
Northwest on I-280 (NJ)
West on I-80 (NJ-PA-OH) to Exit 118 (Sandusky)
Turn right onto US 250 (OH)
I-80 all the way, baby.
don't read this if you want to maintain faith in my inner-cool.
So, there was this orange Kate Spade handbag on ebay that I noticed days ago. And I hate ebay. But I like Kate Spade bags... I know, so shoot me, I'm a damned yuppie, all right? Seriously, I like boxy bags that are open on top. Ask anyone who has seen my cow bag; it's true. And orange is my favorite color so I figured it would be okay to bid just this once, but no more than I would pay for a bag I saw in the store that I really really liked. Not to mention that it is in all likelihood a knockoff. I'm not going to say how much I would spend because as a non-girly girl, it's a little embarrassing for me to admit. So I bid at the last minute, and I had it! This is why I hate ebay, because of this feeling of *winning* that you get when you place what turns out to be the highest bid. But some catty bitch (I assume, because I can) was watching, and we had a little last-4-minutes bidding war, and she outbid me. Damn. So no orange bag for me. Well, at least I made her pay more. Oh, wait, that's why I hate ebay. Shoot. I know I will lose some respect for this post. I'm okay with that.
Supposedly, Catherine Deneuve's face is supported by a web of subcutaneous stitches. Made of 22-Karat gold. So, do you think the stitches are visible? Does she shimmer? I was thinking about this because I have some soap that some little kids made me for Christmas. I've been holding off on using it, because, well, I know these kids. But this past week I finally got my suds on and sure enough, the glittery stuff they embedded in the soap stuck all over me. I had to take another shower to get clean, for fear of being mistaken for one of those shiny girls. Strangely enough, shortly after this shimmery incident I was overwhelmed with the desire to go buy *Nsync's new album. I think I may yet. That Dirty Pop song is so catchy. And I've seen that episode of Making the Video about 12 times. N cuz JC (or is it AJ??) ruuuuulz!!!
It struck me, just now, as I stared out past swollen eye sockets and through translucent streaks on my lenses, that it was probably okay to eat the macaroni and cheese that had just fallen off of my fork and onto my space bar and desk, because hell, there's nobody else here, and the desk and keyboard are reasonably clean, and that's perfectly good macaroni and cheese.
And it struck me, just now, as I spelled out the macaroni and cheese incident for all the world to see, that even that very small private moment was not something I could stand to keep to myself and so here I stand before you, sweating, tired, confused, and frankly having already eaten too much macaroni and cheese to justify eating some more off of the table, an exhibitionist admitted and committed.
And it struck me, just now, as I admitted being a depraved exhibitionist to both friends and strangers, that sitting next to the dark and uncovered window in my pajamas, eating macaroni and cheese off of the table, getting ready to return to reading an entirely ridiculous, not to mention mindless, mystery novel loaned me by my father, that this probably isn't the optimum way to be spending an otherwise glorious and spellbinding evening.
But damn it, I'm having one of those unpleasant days. The kind of day that makes you want to stay up really late doing something at once mind-numbing and also mentally-encompassing so you don't have to go to bed to think about what made you not want to lay alone in the dark thinking. echhhh... I know, boo hoo.
Well, you can think of me getting bombed and stumbling around town this weekend of carousal. Tonight's Maxine's bachelorette party -- second in a series for me this summer (and this lifetime). I hear this one will involve Karaoke. What better way to show off what I've learned from my work with the Japanese! (and from dictionary.com: [Japanese : kara, void, empty + oke(sutora), orchestra (from English orchestra).]) These parties are sure to slow down soon, as I'm quickly running through my short list of girlfriends.
And tomorrow I may go to Sanjeevanee's birthday pub crawl which I'm not technically invited to... then, if I'm still standing, I'll head over to Sidewalk to catch Tony as the lunchmeat on a naked man sandwich. Hm, maybe that didn't come out right. No, yeah, I think it did.
And Sunday, who knows? Maybe the beach with Erik and the Robs. Maybe sleep. Maybe sleep on the beach.
How could I forget -- Never have coffee at a place that also has shrimp on the menu.
I'm not sure I can say anything else nice about Tony Hightower without changing this website to tonygush.blogspot.com. But at the risk of alienating my legions of readers, I will say it again, Tony rocks. Last night I saw The Wise Sophia and kept Tony out way past his bedtime trading stories and drinking coffee that probably kept him up even later and he only complained a little bit. Even when I exhibited gross ignorance regarding Canadian geography and used the phrase "shovelling hot dogs."
Living among the suburban masses sometimes makes me lose my bearings, but hanging out with intelligent, articulate, charismatic beings reminds me that being not-cool in New Jersey is actually the goal, not the downfall.
By the way, to the guy who yelled "YOU GOTTA MUSCLE YOUR WAY IN THERE, SWEETHEART" as I alternate merged my way into the Holland Tunnel around 12:30 this morning, go to hell. If one car is *towing* another car, it's kinda hard to slip in between them, no matter how small my car may be. Yes, that finger was for you. Go back to Jersey! Oh, uh... right.
You may have noticed that I kind of abandoned last weekend's tale... I didn't really have much more to say. Sorry for the lack of closure (ugh, what a terrible term to carry-over from psychobabble... ah, psychobabble -- another word I hate). But here... I think I can boil it down to a few simple Tuesdays-With-Morries. Some of these came from last weekend, some from more recently:
1.) Never trust an SUV with Jersey plates. One of the most dangerous places in the world for me in my little car is at Exit 15, the southbound I-87 interchange with I-287 and Rte 17. This is where all NJ drivers have their last opportunity to do something dumb among NY drivers. Usually this consists of blindly swooping right across 3 or 4 lanes, then correcting back a couple of lanes to the left. I usually just cower in the far right lane and try to stay out of the way of anyone with a travel mug and a cel phone. Which is everyone.
2.) Never claim superiority for either Entenmann's or Freihofer's chocolate chip cookies. I have it on fairly decent authority that they are one and the same. The Freihofer's tan box may make you think of home, and the Entenmann's commercials may bring a tear to your eye and a glob of drool to your lip, but you may as well merge those sentiments because you'll never win an argument based on either.
3.) Never pass an H&M without buying something. Truthfully, I'm including this one just because I want to make sure H&M is in business forever to supply me with the powder blue leopard print vinyl bags and miscellaneous actually wearable pink things I need to survive. But I don't think it would hurt if we all just tried to look a little more Hennes or a little more Mauritz. You bring the feathers, I'll bring the plaid. Come on, you can't beat $6 pants.
4.) Always carry a little notebook. I used to constantly carry a little notebook around and take notes on life. Then a boyfriend came along and called me "affected" and said something like, "yeah, I used to carry a little notebook around, too... when I was young." And I stopped packing that little notebook and now there's a whole big bunch of rants lost forever. I believe it is actively participating in life that creates the impact I'm going for, but it doesn't hurt to have some crib notes for your friends in case they were too drunk to remember the great truths you exhaled upon them.
5.) Always argue with the car moving. This is a lesson I learned a while ago. In the car is the worst possible place to argue, but if it must be done, it must be done in motion. Sitting on the side of the road and arguing in the car is the final circle of hell. Sometimes you just need to blurt out, "Drive, dammit! Drive now!" Of course, my best advice is to never get in a car with someone who raises your hackles, but sometimes you don't realize you're with that person until you're 250 miles from everywhere and when that time comes, I hope you remember this.
6.) Always go, even if that means going alone. Lately I've discovered the pleasure of going alone. Like, going into the city for a show, going to the mall for new shoes, going insane...
That's it for this preachy entry. I know, you may not attach much credibility to suggestions from a 25-year old suburban girl engineer, the one with the sheltered upbringing and the sweeping ignorance of Canadian geography, but in my delusional reality, you are all awaiting my every instruction, the answers to how to live a life as righteous as mine. So there you are, my minions, my public.
ohhhhh, no, erggghghhh...
i'm okay for a bit and then
but still, i'm so glad to have stopped the nail biting.
these nails are like cocaine.
Marc and I took the 6 train back up to The Bronx. By the way, it was my first ride on a new 6 and I have to say, the hype is worth it. Once you get past 125th, I think, the automated voice announces the train as "Pelham Bay PARK bound," emphasis on the PARK.
Since it was an outdoor holiday I'd already decided I wasn't going to leave the city that night. And since I was staying over, I decided to take Thursday off. And why come back to work just for Friday? So a few disagreements with my boss on Tuesday drove me to an extended weekend. I convinced Marc that another beach day was in order for Thursday. After Sunday's beacheriffic day, I was anxious to get back and see if I'd really changed as much as I thought. Especially with Marc's father, who has to be the best beach bum in The Bronx.
We were up early that day (he earlier than I, as usual) and ready to go (he readier than I, as usual). Turned out we didn't get going until much later, however, as we decided to get his whole family involved. Which was fine with me -- we got to have breakfast at the diner, and even got to hear his brother, Nick, order cheese "blitzes."
When we finally reached Jones Beach, after typical LI traffic and the long drive through the outskirts, we found a spot in Field 6 (Field 6! Field 6!) and trudged halfway to the water. The waves were huge. I was scared to go in. I covered myself in sunblock and read my Book Magazine. For the record, sunblock will pull the ink right off the page. I am not being figurative.
I was cold. The wind turned fierce. The barometer fell. The sea rose. We headed back.
Back at Marc's, I found my keys on the floor of his car. Offering to the sea, indeed.
on the road, again.
The following morning I packed up and headed North, up one of my favorite roads in NY, the Taconic. Now that I live in Jersey, I rarely get to take the Taconic to my parents' house, but since I wasn't starting at home, I took advantage of the opportunity. It was a little cold for topless driving, but I cranked up the heat and made do.
The nice things about the Taconic are the lack of traffic and tolls, the decent scenery, and all the different spellings of Taconic that you see on the signs on the way up.
The unfortunate things about the Taconic are the lower speed limit (55 as compared to the NYS Thruway's 65 mph) and the complete lack of convenient restrooms.
When I reached my parents' house, I felt like a Saratoga pony on Lasix.
much ado about little.
Friday and Saturday passed with little of note. Saturday night my mother and I had a little disagreement about whether Kitchenaid mixers are the devil's tool. I say yes, she says no. All I have to say for myself is that my grandmother, the baker, the one who wrote the recipe, never used an electric mixer on cookie dough. For shame. However, when two tired women are baking a double batch of sugar cookies, and one refuses to stir, I'd use a pitchfork to stir if it would make my job easier.
So with the spirit of my grandmother boiling up in my veins, I carefully pressed three non-matching M&Ms into the top of each cookie. After baking them until the edges reached the color of the walls in my grandmother's kitchen, I pulled them from the oven and let them set for exactly one minute before relocation to cooling racks covered in paper towels. When I bake, I am one-half Gram, one-half Kate the Engineer. Actually, make that two-thirds Gram.
Tragically, I am not as coordinated as I am picky, and so I wound up burning my leg on the hot oven door not once but twice. After nearly cursing and with tears welling in my eyes I retreated to the bathroom. My mother wouldn't stir but she did offer to finish baking the last two cookie sheets' worth so I could go to bed. When I woke up in the morning the cookies were neatly divided into two plastic dishes and my mother was all hugs and smiles again.
much ado about slightly more.
Sunday morning brought a phone call from Nana, my one surviving grandparent. She wanted me to join her for breakfast, so I drove to Albany to meet her. When I arrived at her apartment I found her arguing with the visiting nurse about whether the sore on the back of her leg was infected. She didn't want to go to the ER when she could be eating with me. My opinion was requested. I refused to make the call, though I said that truthfully her leg didn't look bad at all. The visiting nurse called her supervisor and my aunt. My aunt asked to speak to me and told me that "a leg infection is a terrible way to die." We all want to be in control of the situation, and I know she acted out of a feeling of helplessness, but I don't think she realized what a fatalist she was being and how that would stick in my head. As the oldest grandchild I am frequently expected to take on a role of adult when I'd rather still be one of the kids.
Fortunately the head nurse was already in the building. Her decision was that this wasn't ER-worthy, just Monday-doctor-visit-worthy, and so we had breakfast after all, with one stocking rolled down to Nana's ankle.
there's still more to come.
It's been a crazy week. Since last we met I've been up and down the Hudson like a flying Dutchman on crack. But fear not, I took notes and I'm back to report on all that I found wonderful about this most relaxing extended weekend. In fact, I took so many notes that I'm going to begin and leave you all on the 4th and pick up from there tomorrow. So -- here's part one of n.
We begin our journey, like so many of my journeys before, in The Bronx. Home to my favorite lunatic and his cat. I arrived at Marc's at 5: and waited on his stoop. I love stoop-sitting. My ass hits concrete and I transform back to the girl from the suburbs. Bronx stoops are among the best, because up there in Yankee country, they like to build up. Garage on the bottom, people on the top. That's the general idea, and sometimes it morphs into basement on the bottom, but the idea is the same. And it means the stoops are steep and the view is great. It's also hard for passers-by to turn their heads far enough to see you without appearing curious (something a good New-Yorker never never does) so you can really get a good look without being seen yourself.
When Marc arrived we dropped my stuff inside and caught the downtown 6, aiming for Jesse's. Around Parkchester, a man and a woman boarded the train with a little girl. The girl sat down on the bench across from me and Marc, and we immediately established eye contact. This girl was adorable; absolutely stunning. With a blue tongue and straight baby teeth she flashed repeatedly. Were we the audience or the performers?
When the family got off at 125th to transfer to the express train, the fireworks crowd had filled in most of the space between us. Marc and I both noticed the family boarding the train across the platform at the same time. Marc turned to me and said, "I'm going to miss that little girl."
We took the 6 all the way to 23rd, reasoning that staying on the local meant keeping our seats, precious in this crowd. We climbed the stairs and emerged on the street, joining the throngs already headed East for the show. A quick stop at a deli for 2 Gerbera daisies for Jesse, and we turned left up 2nd Ave. Jesse's doorman called up for us, announcing us as "Kate and Marc." Marc corrected him as we brushed past a retreating deliveryman: "Marc and Kate."
Thank goodness Jesse was lean mean grilling hot dogs, as I hadn't eaten all day. I wolfed down a few and clumsily chatted with some 2nd-degree acquaintances I hadn't seen in months at least. Interestingly, friends of friends are dating and so my social loops are beginning to close in on me. The confusion resulting from this situation is probably the reason why Joe doesn't advocate mixing friends.
We headed up to the slimy roof and joined the fanatics in their lawnchairs and flip flops. I was surprised how many young people apparently own apartments in Jesse's building.
The view from the roof was maddening. The sensory onslaught of New York struck me yet again and I really lost myself in the moment. With the fireworks a mere 10 blocks away, spectators visible in every direction, peering out from each of the city's crevices, I felt the oneness that is New York. Ugh, that sounds so trite, but I just can't think of a better way to express the feeling of being mutually interested with strangers. It is unfortunate that it takes this sort of flaming cartoon siege to bring out the fans.
Even with the plumes of smoke blowing toward us and obscuring the view, I was so taken. Jesse, of course, blamed himself for the wind and the smoke, and the rain and the lack of music and the rules against drinking on the roof... but no mind. The event was actually embellished with all of that -- the entire New York sky seemed to light up with each flash. And so for the second time in a week, I got to play a game of Lightning or Firework?
The mist must have started after we sat back down in Jesse's apartment. As we left his building, we strolled easily past the umbrella musterers and headed for the subway. The mist picked up and became a drizzle. As usual on days like these, the cops were out in full force.
Overheard as we passed a clump of uniforms huddling under an awning on 24th: "I'm gettin' wet, Sarge."
more to come...
Turns out the flowers are from my parents. I suppose I should have known when they asked me three times on the telephone, "so, anything new?" This job is thankless, which I suppose I also should have known.
All right, back to work, everyone. Nothing to see here.
... you arrive at work on Monday morning and there is a huge bouquet of flowers on your desk, and you're not quite sure from whom the flowers could possibly be. Unfortunately the intrigue stops there, as they are from your company, or so you assume when you read the card, which says, "Congratulations to the best PMINJ". You hope that PMINJ stands for Project Manager in New Jersey, though you suppose it could be Poetastic Madwoman or Prime Minister or Pretentious Maneater or Promiscuous Monster. At any rate, your office smells good, you are well-rested and your house is clean, and all in all things are looking a little brighter. And lo and behold, at some point in the last couple of frantic months, it seems you have gained a fair amount of respect for your work. And still, you hope to never, never, never manage a project again.
The key to happiness....
... seems to have fallen out of my bag somewhere between the start and the end of yesterday. In between, there were two cars and a beach, so things aren't really looking too good for finding my keys. Apparently I put too much stuff in my bag and my keys felt their personal space was being infringed upon, and so decided to leap to freedom, leaving me sandy and deserted in front of my apartment. Luckily, I'm immune to the locksmith spaz tax now, having distributed keys to my apartment the last time I was locked out. Still, it was a rather unpleasant end to an otherwise very pleasant weekend.
Speaking of the beach...
... Inspiration is usually fleeting for me. I am quite prophetic in a half-awake state, but I generally forget my point or realize its irrelevance between the half- and full-awake parts of my day. Friday night I was rushing for the subway so I could catch the last train home and I realized in my state of alert exhaustion that there is something about the city that makes me so calm. When I moved out of the city, I felt quite differently. I had just spent four grueling years in college, dashing about to finish work with which I had become obsessed, manage relationships with which I had become obsessed, appear in performances with which I had become obsessed... Moving out meant extrication, exhalation, and exultation. But now I realize, it was college that exhausted me, not the city as I've been explaining to people for years. There is, and has always been, something very life-affirming in the concrete and steel of New York. It is the realization that man can have a permanence, something that results from a self-supporting infrastructure, as structures crumble and become even more beautiful.
At the same time, I have always hated the beach. At the end of a sand-covered, wave-battered, seagull pooped-on day, I usually look back and say never again. But yesterday I kept an open mind and an open heart, and I just let myself take it all in. The beach, for all of its therapeutic claims, is full of busy-ness. The constant pounding of the surf, the screams of kids in the water, the gusting wind, the multicolored fanaticism of beachgoers, and the sand -- always creeping onto you until eventually you are downright breaded... these things can drive you mad. And yet, as a species we crave the ocean, building around our shores, carrying out annual pilgrimages to the beach. What is it about the circus of these trips that we find so calming? Yesterday as I awoke groggily after an hour's nap in the midst of all this, I finally found my beach zen -- it is the chance to feel small against a giant horizon, to let the earth batter you and to rise up baptized by all the earth has to offer. And as I continued to wake up, that feeling stayed with me and I knew my impression of the beach had changed forever.
and one other thing...
... to say about this little backwards journey through my weekend -- before rushing off to catch said train, I had the pleasure of meeting two more webloggers, little old me with my little old blogspot blog met two super cool weblog celebrities -- Amber and John. I think you will find, as I have, that they are each prime examples of why this whole phenomenon is so incredibly wonderful -- creative, inspired people I would have never otherwise met get a chance to reach out to each other and make a mark. And what a mark!
i dreamed last night i got on the boat to heaven
and by some chance i had brought my vice along
and there i stood
except i wasn't passing out whiskey, i was just passing out.
i don't want to be too optimistic, but i think we may just make this deadline after all. really. things are looking up. and really, this kind of month is what it is all about. we technical types (she says with feigned authority) thrive on this sort of pressure. i wish i could say that, standing around on the assembly floor, working out the details of just how to get those last few analyzers within spec, great minds all working in concert, the pressures of time and finance and reputation all bearing down, that i could say that this is what it's all about. that it is the struggle, not the victory; the voyage, not the arrival, but really, turns out it IS the ends that justify the means, and when everything works out in the end, i have to really stop and think, boy, i don't really enjoy this all that much. sure, i enjoyed the design work, and the drop testing was a blast as always, and i even didn't mind so much the hours and hours (and hours) of paperwork, but the bottom line is, i'm ready to move on to someplace other than here.
um, don't tell my boss. there's that other ends of these means, my paycheck, and i'm going to need to hang on to that for a while.
come to erik and eddie's party tomorrow night. 220A King St., Princeton, NJ 08540. There will be a keg and dancing and a very relieved and finally relaxed engineer there. seriously, you are invited. i guarantee it.
kvetch kvetch kvetch.
also, these blog entries should be getting a little more upbeat any day now. soon there will be much less talk about work, much more talk about all the great things with which i'm going to fill my time once i get my evenings back. fun things besides clean my house and row (two things i really need to do more of, soon). things like dan bern at fez, every tuesday in august. things like see tomb raider, memento, and the fast and the furious. things like replace the shocks on my car. great adventure. pool. getting my ass kicked on my bike. finishing history of the screw. reclaiming leisure -- you'll see, it will be great.
speaking of which,
mark your calendars. sunday, august 12. carnegie lake regatta. a wonderful day for all, just ask millie. $5 lunch with barbecue and rowers provide the potluck part. you are also invited to this. and you get to watch me row.
thud, despair. failed drop testing. failed thermal testing. kind of. maybe lost a whole lotta money for the company. (damn, am i slipping into haiku again? i am so affected.) it has been a shitty month, a shitty week, and a shitty day. everyone else is still optimistic but i am starting to concede the race against time. there are rumors regarding both my competency and my sanity. i have heard them. i have tattled on the rumormongers. i am now a snitch in addition to being a slave-driver. I have worked so hard and so long, and so independently, that I'm now having a hard time turning control of the project over to the powers-that-be.
diamante in the rough.
i was going to say something rudely vindicating here like how i could just write everyone an epitaph instead, or maybe a limerick, or perhaps just a "shout-out," but i'll refrain from that quatrain and just pick my brain for a little free-form pain. peace-out.
for tony... link to me and get your own!
tony hightower --
sing me another one, ace.
your rock band kicks ass.
I am a refresh machine.
Why, when I send an e-mail using my Hotmail account, do I always return to the Inbox screen and immediately hit refresh 3 or 4 times? I don't reply that quickly; I don't know why I expect others to do so. I do crave contact. E-mail fulfills me. I'm a natural born chatter. Got that from Mom. Seems I am particularly predisposed to this problem when said outgoing e-mail is directed at boys.
You are a refresh machine.
So, I added a separate page to list all of my archived entries, and I added permalinks (my stars, how things have changed... remember when I was archive-impaired!?) to all the entries (so you can link to one specific entry if you really love it and want to add it to your list of favorites or whatever, or if you just want to send it to your friends so you can all have a good laugh at how self-absorbed and monotonous I am, and idly chat about how if you had to talk to me instead of just read my blog you would go crazy because it is Hard to parse parenthetical phrases in real-life).
Three Blog Night.
While I was having at it, I intended to add a bunch more blogs to the links section (over there <--) but I haven't yet. Sometimes I like to blog surf. I recommend you try this. How it works is this: you start at your favorite blog, may I suggest the blog you are currently reading. Check it out, decide if you like the direction you're heading in. Be discerning. Everybody's got a voice but few can sing. When you find one you like, you find that blog's section of blog links, pick your next destination, then repeat. Before you know it, you'll be in China or something. You see what I mean? Go on, try it. I'll wait here. When you find something not dumb, come back and let me know. I've given you some good places to start.
... uh, actually, just e-mail me. Can't wait -- gotta go check Hotmail again.
So, I am not an insect person. I was a tomboy... just not a very good one. Outdoor bugs: okay, acceptable, as long as there's no touching required. Indoor bugs: absolutely unacceptable, under any circumstances. Ant in the bathroom? Call Dad in. Spider in the garage? Chase it out. No killing, no touching.
It was, then, with great trepidation that I moved into Knot Square, formerly at 25 Moran Ave in Princeton, now at 25 Nowhere Lane, Garbagetown. While living in a 180-year old house had its charms, no charm is great enough to outweigh the following... roaches, mice, leaks, stray cats, realtors, termites (sorry, "flying ants"), ladybugs, maggots, ants (non-flying), salamanders, and floodwaters... and then, finally, squirrels. Yup, that's right, and not the cute little bushy-tailed peanut-munching variety either -- rather, the Princeton Dark Side Canadian Black Squirrel... You know the one, fuliginous as midnight, occasionally hydrophobic, and sporting a closely-trimmed, strikingly rat-like tail. And the one that particularly enjoys nesting in chimneys and occasionally running rampant regardant and uninvited through the house. Michele chased out a pair (she got all the good stuff) -- one from the downstairs living room and one from her bedroom. They particularly enjoy hiding under radiators. This all happened after the previous week's refrigerator incident (largely unpublicized, we now refer to the event as "The Diaspora of Cold").
Needless to say, we moved out in order to subvert the impending yak infestation. The house was torn down and replaced with a suitably bland replacement, typical of the 2000 McMansion Movement in architecture. And Michele and I moved (separately) to condo-land, the ghettos of Plainsboro. Reasonably air-tight, with central a/c and an in-ground pool, I was suddenly living in the lap of luxury. I no longer had to worry about leaving a pizza box out on the counter -- I was the only visible eater in the house.
But nothing lasts forever, and though things aren't nearly as bad as before, I have had my fair share of visitors. There are two pigeons who get their groove on out on my deck railing. They leave me little pellets of love. Not bad. There were last year's spider mites, which decided to take up residence in my ivy plant. There was the 4-day fruit fly infestation, when I couldn't leave anything remotely organic exposed to air or these drosophilia would appear from nowhere and take up residence. There are the Jersey Bombers that flitter around my door light in the evening; I can avoid them by entering and exiting the apartment with an attention toward strategy -- maximum speed, minimum turbulence.
And then there is my latest mini-monster -- the firefly. Which, I'll grant, is kind of cool. When I was laying on the couch last night thinking about how much work I had to do today, I was truly inspired when I noticed the soft green flash above my head. Then the glow flew into the wall and crashed to the tile floor in front of the fireplace. I'm not really sure what happened, but I grabbed a paper towel intending to pick up the carcass. When I got to the scene of the accident I found the firefly was still alive, barely, sort of a steady glow rather than a flash.
I had a brief recollection of my neighbor in childhood, catching a firefly, squeezing it between his fingers, and rubbing the glowing carcass across his forehead.
I urged the firefly to crawl onto the paper towel and then took him outside and flicked him into freedom. I was still queasy about his presence within my home but I was gentle enough to make sure he didn't end up on the floormat.
I had another brief flashback, to that same neighbor and I on the side of my grandparents' house, trying to stuff fireflies into a prepared jar (holes punched in top with nail), he by catching and depositing, I by closing the jar around the still-flying flasher. He found what he thought was a cat under the bush between our yard and the yard next door -- it turned out to be a skunk.
So, I let the confused little bugger go. Then, today at work, what do I find on the floor in the women's bathroom, but another renegade firefly? This one wasn't flashing (or I couldn't see the flash, at any rate, as it was quite bright in there) but I just grabbed a paper towel and escorted another firefly to safety.
I'm beginning to feel like the pied piper of fireflies. Tonight as I was leaving rowing, I noticed that the area around the lake was absolutely swarming with fireflies. I wonder if this has something to do with the mosquito larvacide that the state of NJ may or may not be spraying on us. Circle of life and all that, you know.
Ramping up through the time of being a daughter
thrust into the world to bear the torch of a family.
The first – the oldest is for a time the youngest,
then then middlest, as the elders go and the youngers arrive.
Now, not a child, not an adult.
Trusted with independence, a satellite family of one.
It is the age of rapid mental transit.
It is the age of raped dinner and pillaged drunken Saturdays.
… the age of 50-mile drives for a movie,
of the hour’s journey from door to bedroom.
It is the longest day of life; it is the shortest night.
June comes and June goes with the arrival of one grey hair.
The frenzy slows; supervision all but disappears.
Jumping the generation gap, grasping for a grip.
Trying to remember what the other side felt like,
a vague recollection of seasons spent waiting.
day 2 of insane end-of-quarter crunch.
today's aol im count: 10 hours, 44 minutes.
not very exciting news, i know.
sorry, back to work.
... about loading aol as an item that starts when windows starts is this -- you can see exactly how long you've been at work. for me it has been 13 hours and 6 minutes, in case you were wondering.
still toiling. but very thankful for friends who bring dinner to starving engineers working all alone on boring paperwork stuff. working sucks, but working on an empty stomach sucks way worse.
13 hours 8 minutes...
what a weekend. first, my dad retired. i drove up there friday for the surprise party. i'm so glad i did -- he later told me that the only real surprise of the day was that i was there. i guess it's hard for a hundred and forty people to keep a secret from their boss.
i gave (what i would consider to be) a drop down on your knees and give me a hallelujiah, sing the praises of the day and the chance to be a witness kinda great speech. so great, in fact, that the superintendent of my parents' school district approached me afterwards to offer me a job. teaching.
so, honestly, this is something i've been thinking about for a long time. and there's something, i think, truly poetic about the idea of entering education now, at the end of my parents' careers. my grandmother also taught in the same school district. really, am i this person? i'm not a traditionalist, but i do latch onto tradition and the interleaving of family and community. i love small towns.
so, i'm going to have myself a good long think. a hard think.
first i'm going to find out exactly what's involved, how much time is will take and how much it will cost, but i'm thinking quite seriously.
and today i happened to remember, thanks joan baez, that action is the antidote to despair.
weekend part ii.
the wedding. wow. wow. a more beautiful day could not have been had.
that's all for now. feel the love. i really think i may be on the brink of a spectacular change. stay tuned.
This is my first remote blog entry, thanks to my Palm. Entering text using this stupid shorthand sucks, though I am actually doing fairly well. I forget spaces. I am actually on the train, on my way home from the bachelorette party. Thinking about how A. is getting married... Crazy. I was 17 when we met... A part of me was born through my knowing her. Marc and I used to watch cartoons in bed with her on Saturday mornings. We once put on all of our coats and our bathrobes, just for fun. I will try to find the photos in time to write a very special blog, for the blushing bride... By the way, the blush may be artificial, but the glow is real. I am so excited for her... for both of them. That is amore.
it is hot.
i am awake.
i am miserable.
can't stay awake.
can't stop hating this temperature, this sweat, this hair, this night,
all i want to do is fall asleep and all i can do is think
when does growing up stop?
when do i stop moving?
where are the people who are not leaving?
i hate paying rent, living in a closet, dust everywhere:
the last victim's dust.
i hate not knowing where to go
what to be
how to get the air conditioner to blow cold air.
the night is hot --
my body is angry --
my mind is revolting --
hope is weak
tomorrow is distant
i am stuck to the chair
i am dripping with frustration
the earth heaves with thunder
i am so small on nights like these:
searching for the cool side of hot
waiting for something to carry me home.
suck.com -- may it be remembered with favor. and vc. the first website that let me believe that content mattered. may every microsoft venture go belly up in order to restore karmic equilibrium.
dad's trying to fix me up with his masseuse. umm... okay. so, i'm going to refrain from commenting on this one. just putting it out there for y'all to consider.
maybe not the best follow up to that pronouncement, but... seems goofy has pubic lice.
while at Salon, i read a great article on jews (and basketball!) in phila. a quote:
"The reason, I suspect, that basketball appeals to the Hebrew with his Oriental background," wrote Paul Gallico, sports editor of the New York Daily News and one of the premier sports writers of the 1930s, "is that the game places a premium on an alert, scheming mind, flashy trickiness, artful dodging and general smart aleckness."
hoo boy. jews in phila. yep. course, we all know, jews kick ass, right? jews kick ass dot com. tell your mom. jews in phila mainly just ignore me, though.
and another from salon, on how the sexiest man of the week put it to the lakers for 48 points last night. yeah baby! er, ahem.
the guy may have once had big hair, but he now drives a very small car. and he has a weblog! adam curry was the pinnacle of cool. right?
i broke my cel phone. then submitted a request for tech support at audiovox. below is the text of the conversation so far... i'm so glad engineers have such a proficient voice in tech support. the previous sentence was an example of sarcasm. sometimes i just want to cold call an engineer at the company that made my broken thing, to get a real explanation for what's gone wrong.
Question Reference #010608-000021
---- 06/08/2001 10:12 AM
this has been a week of hardcore snubs. first there was the birthday party, and now a wedding, from which i will refrain from linking momentarily. what's going on? has my cynicism crossed the line into abrasiveness? has my deodorant stopped working? am i dying of an incurable disease that noone wants to tell me about? seriously. is it the blog? are people afraid i'm going to write mean things about them after i hang with them? dude, if i'm writing mean things, they're in my head already anyway, blog or no blog. deal with it.
bachelorette? me? uh, i guess...
speaking of weddings, on saturday i'll be attending my very first ever bachelorette party, for my awesome friend annisia (rhymes with i wanna piece o' ya), and i am so excited because really, how often does a girl like me get an opportunity like this? i mean, all my friends are boys! some are men. and as it turns out this week, a bunch of them don't even really seem to want to be around me all that much.
so anyway, i'm going to this shindig and i'm not really sure what to expect. i'm a little uncomfortable with the prospect of silly girl things (see notes on fancy hair, below) and i sure don't want to be taking dollars from boys so they can eat sewed-on gummi savers off of annisia's shirt. what? oh, i don't know either. it's from a bachelorette party story that i heard recently.
get your own.
i just got back from the medical design and manufacturing show at the javits center... so cool. the company i work for has really tapped the resources of that show in years past, and it shows! almost every aisle had at least one vendor with a part i've worked on in a lighted display case or out on a table for touching. the new recharging tray was there too, i was so proud!
last time i was there was three summers ago and things have really changed. used to be john was the one all the vendors recognized and wanted to talk to; now it is i. they have a great system where your nametag has a big barcode on it with all of your contact info embedded. if you want a vendor to add you to their mailing list, you ask them to swipe your badge. if you're really a coveted sales contact for them, they will ask you to surrendor your badge for swiping. i couldn't help but think of the show stef did in europe where he came back with some number of "prospects" -- i am now a prospect. i hope i'm a hot one.
no real links today. no time to surf. stay tuned, eager readers.
So. Hoo-boy. Life flies by. June already. Taken the old mtb out a grand total of twice. That's $400 per ride, kids. I probably could have given up those two rides and purchased the bike now, and saved myself another hundred bucks. Oh well. I wish I could say it was all worth it, that those two rides were really my new reason for living, that I discovered great new friends and stretched my irrational boundaries, charting new physical and psychological territory... but I cannot.
In fact, speaking of friends, lately I'd say I'm about two friends shy of an OldKate. Coincidentally two mountain biking friends shy. I hate to be a vidictive bastard* but this is not the first time in my life that a birthday party was planned five feet away from me and I wasn't invited... and I was right about the intention of the last transgressors**. Or maybe I'm just being too sensitive. I dunno.
* oh who am I kidding?? That's my real reason for living, folks!
** it was ninth grade, it was Becky Heumann's birthday, and my friends decided to dump me. My father was the principal. Kids are cruel. I was empty.
Libby LaPier had grown-up eyes.
Hey, speaking of irrational acts of adolescent silliness, I was in the bathroom at the movies the other day, thinking about sixth grade and how I had basically the same haircut I have now, which is to say no haircut, mostly just a giant mop of knots cascading down my back or spiking off my crown, and how all the other girls in my class had perms or perfect straight braidable hair.
I was never one for hair... fancy girl hair, I mean. My mother had short hair forever and she would put my hair in a ponytail and then drag it up to the top of my head. Other mothers did pigtails, french braids, twisty sparkly ribbon-trimmed works of early morning art; my mom poured me coffee and never said anything mean when she couldn't get the comb through my knots. And that's why I love her so much. And that's also why I love my hair so much. It is real and it is big in a small way and it is me.
Anyway, this one girl had just the tamest, most braidable hair you've ever seen. And Libby LaPier, who sat next to me in desks and always looked happy, used to leave her notes like this: Wear your hair down! -Secret Admirer.
And Libby LaPier had grown-up eyes. I remember thinking that they looked blank back then. I was wrong. I get the same look from the Mexican ladies at work, from the skinny cream cheese girls at Bagel Street, and from the snottier of the grad students I know, the ones trying to induce degree envy. Heh. Just try to bring me down.
notice i am not listed.
Results from the CCW Sprints. Self-esteem can only make you so good -- Sometimes, I am only a winner in practice.
For the record, work still sucks.
Hey, does anyone want to hire a Mechanical Engineer, with 4 years of product design experience and above-average communication skills? I would sure like a new job. I'll be available starting in December of 2001 and I'd sure like to relocate to the Albany/Bennington/Saratoga area. Resume to follow.
Hopefully in my next job I can avoid debacles like this one: I am totally swamped at work and I've given up the absolute perfect vacation, so that I can stay here and dig my life away-o.
That's all for now, mostly I just wanted to re-publish so I could get my intermediate entries*** back.
***heh, don't want to lose those. right.
don't click at work, dummy!
wotapalava live in america -- what a fuss about nothing.
can't wait to see what happens here.
in rotation: fatboy slim, shrek, adam brodsky, weezer, cibo matto.
in print: the shell game.
last item purchased: tropicana original, 16 oz.
sometimes i stop to think and i can't help but cry out with joy.
i am so blessed.
the things we give this world will come back manyfold. the things we make but do not own turn out to be our greatest assets. the roots we grow from, and the leaves we will sprout, tie us to the earth, to heaven, and to one another.
no wind is strong enough to topple our fortitude, no flood great enough to wash away our conviction.
turn us away, and we turn toward one another. attract us individually, and receive us as a swarm.
a couple of folks have asked where "i scatter" comes from, and here's the answer.
you've got this thing, he said,
this thing to give to the world,
i said aw what do you know
but i let my fingers curl
around the base of his idea
and the concept on his mind
and i thought, yeah i could do that
some day, some time.
and i went about my life
reading other people's thoughts
taking notes and pondering carefully
but eventually forgot
how it felt to be the smart one
the one who figured things out first
holding the secrets and the answers
until i knew that i would burst
i scattered his ideas
among unimportant things
like coupons and bills
and cabbages and kings
and i thought about the weather
and the rent check and my stocks
and my sunburn and my haircut
and my underwear and socks
till just now it returned
that sentiment of his
and it whirled about my mind
and bubbled till it fizzed
eventually boiling over
and flooding my mind with white
until i grabbed a pad and pen
and sat back down to write
km 29 oct 99
I am no longer humiliated by my lack of archives! They exist and the links actually work!
For the record, I found the solution at blogtech. I was a little confused initially because some posts exist both on my front page and in my archives, even though I'd specified that I only wanted 7 days' worth of posts on my front page. What I wasn't getting was that means 7 posting days' worth of posts, so if I skip a day, that day doesn't get counted. (And I do skip a day now and then...) Woohoo!
I also added my e-mail address to the signatures of all the posts, and I think the Home link even works!
I feel like a bonafide computer scientist. Like an implementation coordinator... Like a... well, okay, mostly like I've upgraded back to Blogs for Dummies. :)
Okay, first let me say I'm pretty embarrassed that my archive link still doesn't work. Am I an idiot or what? There are like, six hundred thousand blogs and they all have functioning archives. I need Blogs for Dummies. Oh, wait... I think I'm there. Okay, so... I guess I need Blogs for Spazzes. Spazi. Whatever. Point being, help! If you can figure this shit out, e-mail me at k8emak-at-hotmail.com. Thanks. Actually, if you're reading this at all, maybe you could let me know what you think, other than telling me that the archive link doesn't work. Cool, thanks.
So life's been a little complicated lately. Normally when this happens I like to ignore the problems until they burst out of control one by one. That provides me with a convenient triage of disasters based on proximity to explosion. This time I'm just going ahead and letting them explode. I just don't have time for mediation, I'm afraid.
First, the Japanese are coming. One if by Newark, two if by Queens. Which means I better clean my desk off... and learn Japanese... and build some analyzers! In the meantime, my design is failing all kinds of tests. Safety, thermal... the list keeps growing. It is all fixable, but it's one of those things. The more you rush at the beginning, the longer you'll have to work to fix problems at the end. I'm really glad I've had the chance to work on this project, though. I did some design work that I'm quite proud of, mostly industrial-type design, for holdability and appearance. I really am pleased with the result (even if some of the parts don't quite fit together on their own...).
After my first year of college I worked a summer at Key Bank, and mostly what I learned there was 1) that banks are not to be trusted blindly and 2) that I never wanted to work for a bank again, ever. I've learned similar lessons here... that managers don't really know what they're doing, and that I never want to manage another project.
My apartment is a big mess. The giant laundry pile is returning with the busy days of summer. The changing of seasons does this to me. Why should I wash the warm clothes when I won't need them for 3 months anyway? Where oh where did I get this habit? My mom is a super diligent lauderer. But even when I was in high school I was terrible about doing my own laundry. Then I would do it all in a huge spurt and it would all be terribly wrinkled because of that terrible phenomenon I like to call "Fast Washer, Slow Dryer," which results in more than one load of wash jammed in one dryer load, all just staying in one cylindrical mass and rotating, rather than "tumbling" like it's supposed to.
And the third factor keeping me from sanity (or at least my normal state which is somewhat closer to sanity though I rarely get beyond the grey area of indifference except to venture into catatonia) is the trials of being an ex-girlfriend. I've never enjoyed being an ex-anything particularly an ex-girlfriend and the best I can ever do is just cope. But The New Joe, who prefers to be called Joe Classic but really has to earn that title by replying to e-mail every once in a while, said something to me not so long ago... at first I was incredibly offended but the more I think about it the more I think it is in line with one of my big mantras, which is that everyone and everything I encounter has something to offer me, and good or bad, it will always be character building. Anyway, here's what Joe said... printed without permission but the guy loves exposure so I'm not too worried...
I am not long for this coast, and I go to carry Westward a solemn, bittersweet knowledge of Things Experienced. Solemn: for the deep, abiding passion for the past; bittersweet for the fact that my passion is no longer a longing; I want to carry the past with me, not re-live it. And carry it I will, preferably in my left hip pocket, right next to my keys.
To which I couldn't help but respond, with apologies to Ani Difranco, that I prefer mine underneath my right pant leg, strapped to my boot.
So that's that. Nothing a busy weekend complete with a regatta won't cure.
Just a quick note to say that I've finally reached the sad point in my career where having your boss not come into work for 3 weeks because he's sailing up the East Coast has become a burden, rather than a cause for celebration.
Woe is me.
So, I somehow just posted about 7 times. I am such a Technospazzzzzzz.
It has been a few days.
I am not dead. This is how rumors get started.
After the goat-cheese quesadilla incident, I got caught up in the excitement of the Zurich World Cup Regatta, right here in little Mercer County Park! For those that don't know, that's some world-class rowing... I worked in the information tent, where I was yelled at by some of the best rowers on the planet!
Seriously, there is nothing like a great big regatta to put a smile on my face. I row! He rows! She rows! That Romanian guy rows! That girl eating the hoagie rows! People in more popular sports never get this feeling because everybody plays basketball.
I row 3 times a week at least, and I'm usually up before 5 AM to do it. This can be invigorating, of course, or I wouldn’t do it… but it can also get to be a bit demoralizing when you realize that you love a forgotten sport. I suppose excelling at rowing is like being a really good marathon runner, or rally car driver. Sure, a few fanatics will probably stalk you but mostly nobody cares. So as an amateur rower I’ve developed a whole different athletic dream than most. There’s no buzzer shot in rowing; no Pele kick, no grand slam or 60 yard field goal. There’s no Alan Iverson, no endorsement (other than the occasional print ad, umm, yes, so…), no Subway Series, no none of that. In fact, the US national team practices right there on the same little lake as I do (they do generally don spandex over their Jockeys)… which when you think about it is like borrowing Mike’s Air Jordans every day, just because he has nowhere else to be.
But enough about rowing. I could go on all day, but I won’t.
Very Not So Bad.
The Tuesday after the World Cup I was invited to have dinner with some sales reps from the Japanese company who will purchase the new blood analyzer I’m designing. I was a little hesitant to go for a few reasons. First, who wants to meet the design engineer? I’m not very good at being wined and dined, and I don’t think any engineers have ever been invited to this sort of thing before, and besides – I had tons of work to do! The second problem was that dinner was at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central. Anyone who has ever eaten in my presence knows I don’t eat anything of-the-sea, for a variety of reasons that all center around a particularly violent vomiting episode around age 6.
Hey, maybe I should change this to a web log where I just talk about all the times I’ve puked.
Anyway, I hit the Oyster Bar website (like most former NYC residents, I’d never been there, let alone heard of it… also I hung with the poor crowd in college) and things were looking pretty bleak. 2097 types of oysters! Fresh fish delivered daily! You know what I say, the only thing a fish is good for is hitting someone upside the head. But I digress.
So I vacillated for a few days but finally decided to go. I mean, who could resist, right? Dinner with the customer? It was kind of like I got picked for a prize and I just had to take the train into the city to pick it up… what can I say? The life of an Engineer is neither fortune-filled nor glamorous.
And of course, it turned out to be not so bad. Or as my new friends would say, Very not so bad, may I take your photo please? No joke, I am anti-silly-stereotypes (unless they are really really silly like Irish girls with raccoon sunburns, more on that later) but there were more cameras at that table than customers. None of them could pronounce my name, let alone speak English. They did, however, ask if I was Italian (I think all the vowelliness at the end there confused them), ask if I brought them any analyzers (I hadn’t… they were mostly in pieces on my office floor), and tell me that they think I am “Very Excellent Engineering.”
Wow! Suddenly Japanese wasn’t so hard to understand! Clearly, they were all talking about my not so very lateness and how they were really glad they took a being on vacation to come meet me.
Heh, what’s really funny about that last paragraph is that MS Word’s grammar editor sees nothing wrong with it.
So, I even ate just a tiny bit of calamari and a couple of popcorn shrimp. Needless to say I was very hungry. Turns out the Oyster Bar has some not-of-the-sea (may I take your picture please?) options, like drippy steak, very dry chicken, and a plate of vegetables. I had the chicken.
Susan Gets Disgruntled.
I will take just the slightest of moments to touch just ever so slightly on the travesty that was Survivor II: The Australian Outgrowth. I spent way too much time thinking about vapid people (other than the vapid person sitting right here) and how they should cook more rice! or form an alliance! or cook less rice! or just talk more about nothing!
We had a pool here at work… $5 to draw a Survivor’s name out of a hat, winner takes all. Last year Susan had Susan in the pool; this year she drew Tina and her fake boobs. Congratulations Susan on not just barely being a loser again this year.
Now I have to go get ready for Real World 11: The Metropolitan Relapse.
You Got to Know Your Chicken.
On to the busy busy weekend… Saturday I washed Brave Blue Mike and changed his oil (for those who think I am being metaphoric, click the damn link already), and then headed into NY for the Moldy Peaches – Cibo Matto show at Irving Plaza. All kinds of fun. All kinds of rehashed memories, too. Like being so worried that Marc would be pissed off that I got stuck in tunnel traffic. Then remembering all the fun and not-so-fun (can I take your photo please?) walks through NY we’ve had… also meeting Zohar everywhere, but most especially the first time we ever met him which was actually at Irving Plaza, at a TMBG show.
I want to mention Zohar a little more here (not sure how up to date that site is, but apparently the guy's got a beard now... and I'm a bad friend)… the guy’s a crackhead. Not literally, as in, one whose head is filled with crack… here is where I actually am being metaphoric. Zohar walked up to me, Marc, Karen, Mariss, and Jerry Gay at the TMBG show. It was 1994 I think, and he was with a guy in a red fez. The two of them taught us the Particle Man hand dance, the guy in the fez left to spread the good word further, and we were left with Zo who proceeded to discover we knew his brother. For the next 7 years, Zo would continue to make intermittent appearances in life… on Second Ave on his way back from East Village Cheese, in front of the Telephone Bar, at a party at NYU law school during Karen’s first week there, at a Halloween party in Princeton dressed as a Smurf, etc. Then Marc ran into him recently and brought it all back home.
So I was sort of vaguely expecting Zo to be at this show, just because that’s what he does… Marc and I were wandering around after the Moldy Peaches (awesome, by the way. just great) and Marc glances over my shoulder to see….
Mariss. Not Zohar, but pretty damn close. Weird. And what was stranger was that between the total of 5 people then associated with me at that show, only one had ever listened to either of the bands extensively.
Free Painkillers for All Crews Under 4:07.
Sunday was my first Masters’ Regatta… I am getting old, but I was really only invited because they added a new class just for this regatta that allowed me to participate. Which meant I was the youngest one from my club there, which meant I was officially the knees of the team. I have never heard a group of people complain so much about pain. It’s a damn thousand meters, people, not a marathon.
Nonetheless, a kinder, funner group of rowers is not to be found anywhere and I am so lucky for their existence. And I won a medal.
That’s all for now; sorry for the brain dump. I promise to figure out this archiving thing soon. If anyone reads this and knows how to get that to work on blogspot, please let me know. In the meantime, just enjoy my capitalizing and my excellent grammaring, and may I take your photo please?
sometime i would like to take a day off of work... a day to sleep, read, relax, recover...
yesterday was not that day.
yesterday was nearly that day. it would have been perfect if not for all the vomiting that had to come first.
so... i have a weak stomach. plus i really like spicy mexican pickled acidic oily food, and i like to eat it fast. and often. i take one of those super-antacids, the ones that advertise on cable that you should talk to your doctor about getting your life back. so, i reclaimed my life about a year ago and mostly all i've gotten for that is an extra 10 pounds since now there's no stomachache keeping me from eating when i'm hungry. mixed blessing. thanks to my health plan i pay $5 a month for this privilege (as opposed to the $90 the drug company asks for) and i'm generally okay with that -- at $3/day i might feel differently.
i puke a lot. more, i think, than your average, otherwise-healthy 25 year old. i'm not bulemic... and i'm way to repulsed by the idea of myself vomiting to ever try, no matter how the spare tire's lookin'. i also have some other little pills that stop my stomach from seizing when i need that. i tried one of those but i'm pretty sure it came back up before dissolving.
so anyway, that goat cheese quesadilla might not have been a good idea. in fact, it is now safe to say that it definitely wasn't a good idea. wednesday morning, 3 am... surely not a good idea.
things i learned on my off-day...
1. riptide rush is not an acceptable food substitute.
2. friends you believed were gone will reappear when you least expect them... and when you most need them.
3. even a ticket to g love at roseland can't drag me into ny after a night of puking.
4. eggs and bacon from the americana diner are still the ultimate healthfood.
so marc, if you're reading this, i'm sorry i always puke when we're supposed to see shows together. i hope you had fun anyway.
and to everyone else who has ever rubbed my back while i hurled, thanks. i owe you brunch.
i left work early yesterday and headed into the city to speak in a class at my alma mater, cooper union.
i should pause for a sec here and explain what a statement this is.
first, cooper union is free, as in each admitted student receives a full tuition scholarship.
people frequently ask the following questions about the free thing...
is it state-funded? no.
is it only for city kids? no.
is it a good school? yes!!
well then how can it possibly be free?!? it is funded by an endowment, set up by peter cooper and continually added to thanks to investment and further donation.
wow! how do i get in? well if you can't figure that out, you probably shouldn't go there.
so, we've established that the school is free and good.
next, i was a terrible student at cooper. i scraped by and did as little as possible because i was sure... i mean sure that i didn't want to be an engineer, at the time. of course, i am now an engineer. this is the way things go. of course back then i was also sure i didn't want to work in heating and ventilation, didn't want to work at a huge company, didn't want to sit in front of a computer all day.... i've succeeded on these fronts, thank goodness. i get to design parts and work with actual human people and build things and break things and parts i've designed actually exist! still to this day it blows my mind that i 1) never flunked out and 2) actually got a job... also 3) haven't been fired yet, but that's another story for another day.
so, anyway, it is quite an honor to be invited back to speak in this class, global engineering operations and management, or some such thing, oh and by the way i think i got a c in this class, or maybe it was a b... all i remember is that professor jacoby thought i was really good in the play (the importance of being earnest... i got to wear a peach bridesmaid's dress and see vik in makeup) and gave me obscene amounts of bonus points for charisma in my in-class presentations. come to think of it, that charisma usually came from the pre-class trips across the street to st. mark's ale house with david levine, but again, another story for another day.
professor jacoby, i should mention, rocks. she was trained as an engineer in romania, because, as she says, in romania, you become a doctor, you become an engineer, or you become hungry. anyway, she escaped... came to new york and got a new job, took classes at cooper at night to get her master's, met her husband at an engineering seminar of all places, tried to move to hawaii (an exotic but useless island in the middle of the pacific, according to her husband) but ended up in suffolk county (on an exotic but useless island in the middle of the atlantic, i suppose).
so professor jacoby totally thinks i'm this brainy but misbegotten fine young woman with multitudes of knowledge to share with today's youth... umm, right... so, she has me come back and speak to her class every year about what it's like to be me, how smart and charming i am, how tall and muscular i'm looking these days... oh, i also talk about my company and my work and try to put some kind of global engineering operations and management, or some such thing, spin on my life... basically it's a moderated ego-boost with a technical undercurrent.
so these precocious kids who think they are the next big thing remind me of how big i thought i was when i was 21... and how small i'll probably seem at 25 when i am 29, and 39... and 109... and each year i go through this and think about how young and annoying i must seem to everyone around me. anyway, i may realize i am young and annoying, but that doesn't stop me from pontificating on the greater meaning of life and engineering and hey! i was just saying that the problem with charisma is that charisma is so close to annoyance, especially when charisma constantly bombards those around them with their irrelevant social commentary and superfluous personal details.
so there you go. professor jacoby took me out for a goat cheese and mushroom quesadilla and told me not to worry about being single until i turn 30, and that i should try to meet someone soon just in case, and that whatever i do, i should be sure to marry up. so, it's a mixed bag of advice but she is my favorite former professor by virtue of the fact that she's the only one that doesn't deny my existence, so i take everything she tells me very seriously especially the part where she tells me how great i am.... umm, right.
so, anyway, here's my advice for cooper union engineering students, and the world in general, and even you, yes you... one of the two, or possibly three people who actually read this and yes, that does include me...
i actually wrote this down and took it with me into class and now i'm putting it here for all eternity, or for a while... or at least until this whole internet thing blows over...
1. learn how to write; learn how to speak.
2. realize that not everyone is as smart as you... likewise, you are just a beginner. they may be dumb, but they each have something to offer you.
3. take any training anyone ever offers you, and if you like it, add it to your resume immediately.
4. find a job you enjoy -- if the interview isn't fun, neither will the job be. if you hate your job, leave.
5. know your value and always have an up-to-date resume in both MS Word and html formats ready to mail off at a moment's notice.
that's it... go forth and be prosperously content... in retrospect i forgot my other rules of thumb... the first is always remember that your job isn't supposed to be your life -- it's just supposed to pay for your life, and second is never turn down free food unless you are in one of those foot and mouth countries. or if the food being offered is fish. never eat a free fish.
very pleasant houseguest.
AND... i got to drive very pleasant houseguest's VERY fast car, all the way from work to e&e's.
never have i been so the bomb as when driving the m.
must.... save..... money.
i should have been a consultant.
or an inheritess.
or a racecar driver.
oh well. if i had that car i would die straightaway, so... probably best that i don't.
things i've noticed making me unusually happy lately:
alcon clerz 2 eyedrops.
a bite of toast... a gulp of coffee.
songs with lots of words.
last night i hit rose's end for a tony hightower - adam brodsky extravaganza. i've never seen the place so packed. they are both fantastic performers and supreme crowd-pleasers. they even took the whole audience out for grilled cheese after the show.
this show got me thinking about antifolk, and wondering what i was smoking in college with that scene going on pretty much all around me. (oh, wait... i know what i was smoking in college...) internet killed the video star is pretty much my vision of the future. and along those lines, i present my antifolk discovery process... first there was genrecide, and from genrecide came brenda kahn... and there i sat for years until presto! the internet sends me from bk to lach, to spin doctors via chris barron, to a rainy night in saratoga with a person i didn't much like, back to brenda kahn and then south to philly, to adam and butch and that scene, back to ny last night where i met this tony hightower, who's just helped finish up the last written issue of antifolk matters, an antifolk zine.
and one more thing, along the lines of video stars, is this incredibly terrible photo of christina aguilera in a terrible terrible outfit. that link is likely temporary so enjoy it while you can.
later. actually, hopefully sooner than last time.
i'm getting ready for a trip to milwaukee for some good old irish times with aunt sue.
the cashier at superfresh had words with me today.
i guess paying for salad at the main cash registers is forbidden.
is this new? -me.
no -- we pay cashiers specifically for the salad bar, and they twiddle their thumbs all day. -her.
never mind that i already hate going to superfresh for lack of cashiers.
maybe paying at the salad bar would speed up my life.
i hate superfresh.
clearly, this is a hard know to think.
what happens here is for me.
are you someone else? if so, you have been warned, but not forbidden.