Friday, March 31, 2006

ok, i have to link this.

usually BoyCat is the one to laugh at the more, shall we say, toilet-esqe humor, but this post from Miss Doxie really got me. i just laughed out loud like five times in five minutes.

a hat tip to educand, on whose blogroll i just found Miss Doxie. funny freaking stuff.

a book meme.

aped from fluffy dollars, and perfect for my lazy friday evening...

a book that made you cry: Plays Well with Others. it’s a novel about AIDS set in new york city by allan gurganus, and i finished it in a florida airport. i had to go hide in a bathroom stall for five minutes to compose myself.

a book that scared you: The Shining. i read it when i was about thirteen...why??

a book that made you laugh:
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. i distinctly remember family members sticking their heads into my bedroom, saying “what the hell are you laughing at?” i think that was one of the times where they started to understand just how odd i was, as i sat holding a little paperback, laughing so hard that tears were running down my face.

a book that disgusted you: The Rules of Attraction. i think that i got about 5 pages into it before i returned it to my friend mike, who i’m sure was horrified at my lack of literary appreciation. but i just couldn’t stomach it.

a book you loved in elementary school:
are you kidding me? i don’t remember elementary school. ask my mom.

a book you loved in middle school: i was a big fan of the Fudge books by judy blume, if i remember correctly. the only title i can actually recall is Superfudge.* that probably would've been around the beginning of middle school, right? or maybe this belongs in the above category. i dunno.

a book you loved in high school:
The Great Gatsby. and i will take on anyone who wants to put some other book above this one on the Candidates for the Great American Novel list. anyone.

a book you hated in high school: The Catcher in the Rye. it actually wasn’t even assigned through a class, but when i was 16 i wanted to see what the fuss was all about. about half of the way through, i decided i would finish only as an exercise in masochism. when i turned the last page, i closed the book and literally threw it across the room.

a book you loved in college: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. “…the sinful thought conceived in an instant: non serviam: I will not serve. That instant was his ruin.”

a book that challenged your identity:
The Second Sex. i could write a whole ‘nother post about how this book changed my life.

a series that you love:
you know, i can’t think of any series that i’ve read in the last decade. i see the harry potter movies, does that count?

your favorite horror book:
haven’t read too many of these – i have a very low threshold for fear. i will say that “The Turn of the Screw,” the short story by henry james, is good for a chill or two.

your favorite science fiction book:
sorry to my sci-fi people, but this genre has never really been able to hold my attention. see Hitchhiker’s Guide above for my only bonafide contact with sci-fi.

your favorite fantasy book: ok, so this meme is really starting to show my narrow literature predilections. i’d argue that at least half of Ulysses could count as fantasy, so that’s my choice! the “circe” chapter? c’mon.

your favorite mystery book: i’m going to say The Blind Assassin here. i don’t think you’d find it in the mystery section, but to me, it was a great narrative that centered around a number of questions, the answers to which came very slowly.

your favorite biography:
Dorothy Parker: What Fresh Hell is This? this is CatCat’s favorite book too. honorable mention for W.B. Yeats: A Life.

your favorite "coming-of-age" book: Cat’s Eye. atwood is just so good. i’m not sure i’ve ever read a word of hers that i didn’t like. plus, there’s such a dearth of girls’ coming-of-age stories represented in novels, it was like a breath of fresh air to come across this one.

your favorite book not on this list: oh, dear. Ariel. Backlash. Heart of Darkness. A Short History of Nearly Everything. Breakfast of Champions. Wuthering Heights. The Fire Next Time. and so on, and so on.

* oh my god, so i was just googling Superfudge to see if that was how the title was in fact laid out – no spacing, etc – and i found this article: “Cultural Arrogance and Realism in Judy Blume's 'Superfudge'”. seriously? is there nothing else we freaking english-major academics haven’t mined to death? cripes.

a potential insight into my inability to lose weight.*

*now before any of you jump on me, i'm not actively trying to lose weight. however, i have been a bit puzzled by the fact that my increased time and effort at the gym over the last month or so has not resulted in a few shed pounds. moving along.

so yesterday, BoyCat arrived home from his shift at the media place, and we commenced chatting about this and that. he mentioned that "hey, that tamale was really good," meaning the frozen tamales that we bought at trader joe's over the weekend. "oh, that's good. we'll have to get some more."

fast forward to 15 minutes later, with BoyCat in the kitchen preparing his lunch and dinner for the next day, and me loafing about uselessly. BoyCat says, "that tamale was so good, i'm going to bring the other one for tomorrow." (somewhat obviously, they come in packs of two.) i said, "wait, you only ate one for dinner tonight?" he said, "um, yeah." i looked at him with slight astonishment, and said "huh. that makes me feel kinda bad. when i have the veggie burritos for dinner i always eat both of them."

now it was BoyCat's turn to look at me incredulously. "really?" he said. i said, "well yeah. but the veggie burritos are kinda little. they're not the same size as the ones you make." BoyCat said, "oh," in that way that signaled the only one still interested in the conversation was me. but i persevered. "yeah," i said, "they're like the size of..."

and just at that moment, BoyCat pulled his second tamale out of the freezer to wrap in a bag.

", that. they're that size."

sigh. i never have been very good with portion control...

Thursday, March 30, 2006


you peeps like to talk about shoes. who knew?

i just got back from the gym, where i ran a 5K. yesssss. take that, treadmill! now, those of you in chicago are thinking, "kate, are you on crack? it's the warmest day since like july of 2005 around here. what are you doing inside on the treadmill?" to that i would reply, "well, we pay $120 a month for our gym membership, so i plan on squeezing every penny's worth out of it!" of course, "plan on" is the operative term, because to literally get every penny's worth, i think i'd have to set up basecamp in the locker room.

but it was a delightful day here on the third coast. i only got to experience the height of the nice weather on my walk from the El to the gym, but even that little five block jaunt was full of sights that made me smile. something about that first warm day really puts a nice little glow over everything, doesn't it? i saw a couple walking on belmont, and there was nothing remarkable about them, but just the way that she was smiling as she listened to whatever he was saying was beautiful and comfortable. turning the corner onto broadway, i saw another couple pushing this little animal carrier/stroller hybrid (i shudder to think what a contraption like that costs!), and inside it was their cat, just chilling. had her little nose up in the air, looking around, taking it all in as she was chauffeured down the street.

love it.

but anyway, just because we can't have too much shiny happy fun time around here, i leave you with two important links. first, Justice 4 Two Sisters will keep you up-to-date on all the media coming out around the Duke Lacrosse rape case. it should be a good resource over the next few days and weeks.

second, the NIH has done computer models on how bird flu will hypothetically* hit the united states, and it seems as though we'll be able to blame one state in particular. i'm looking at you, california.

*hypothetical, my ass. as jon stewart would say, "we's all gonna die!!! and we're gonna see it all live, on the tee-vee!!"

fashion thought for the day.

wedges? the shoe for spring? i'm sorry, but no. i just can't get behind this one.

hey, if you like the wedges, by all means, rock the narrow cork-covered heel. that's cool. but for me? i'll pass.

one fine day, i will wake to find that clogs have made a comeback, and i will be a happy girl indeed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

news you need to know.

i am just getting up to speed today on the Duke lacrosse team rape case. if you haven't heard, police are collecting dna from 46 out of 47 members of the duke lacrosse team, which has refused to cooperate with an investigation into an alleged rape of a stripper at an off-campus party hosted by the team.

the story, unsuprisingly, is pretty horrific, and the feminist blogosphere has been working to keep the pressure on in terms of public attention for the case. as many have pointed out, race and class are huge factors here - the 46 team members being investigated are white, and the woman is a black student from a nearby college who was dancing to pay her way through school. some salient points:

rachel: "The race/class/gender dynamics of this whole case are really scary, and they reveal a great deal about out power structure inthis country. This young woman ended up in the vulnerable position of being a sex worker because she was trying to better her family and her education. The two young women left the party after the racial slurs began and they feared for their safety, but I can't help wondering if they were thinking about how they were going to pay their bills or feed their kids when they went back in, something most of these young men don't even have to think about."

barb: "Just like the world doesn't notice that a lot of young black women go missing as well as white ones...I think this country will treat these women who were raped in the same way: they'll talk about it for a bit, portray as just the typical antics of fratboy atheletes, blind themselves to issues of race and class involved here and then forget about it."

cinnamon: "I'm appalled by the alleged behavior of these men. And I say alleged solely because not saying it could get me sued if they're able to hire well-strung lawyers and get off. And I could go off about it, but instead I'm going to tell you how appalled I am by the headlines...After going through three screens of headlines on Google News, I come across 2(!) headlines that actually place the accusation of rape as the subject of headlines. The rest are all about how the Lacrosse team doesn't get to play until more information comes out during the investigation."

i'd urge you all to follow this case, and speak up about it. i know that i'm going to.

your wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Mom: You are the best form of birth control.

--FAO Schwarz, 5th Avenue

a funny story: my freshman year of college, my friends and i took a daytrip into NYC before christmas, just to see the sights and have some fun. as it was the holiday season, of course we had to go to FAO Schwartz. after waiting in line (waiting in line! outside, like wrapped around the block!) for about 15 minutes, we got inside and commenced wandering around this world-famous crackhouse for children. i have to admit, even though i'm not known to be the most "child-friendly" person in the world, it was a cool place to see.

anyway, so we're walking around, and it's mad crazy crowded. we end up walking past a huge section of the store devoted solely to teletubbies (mind you, this was 1998). there's a woman standing in the midst of the teletubbies merchandise explosion, holding onto her three kids. she's literally holding them all by the arms, because they are flailing around, trying to get free and gorge themselves on teletubbies swag. finally, the mother lets go, the kids scramble out in all directions, and she shouts one thing:

"Anything but the video!!"

overheard in our apartment.

BoyCat: you know, there is nothing funnier than one weiner dog climbing over another weiner dog.

that's right, ladies and gentleman, you heard it here first - the holy grail of comedy is slapstick with dachsunds.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

an observation, a question, and a mini-rant.

an observation: if BoyCat and i ever find ourselves with enough money to live in a nice house - or a condo, or townhouse, or whatever - i would love to have a fireplace. it's not something that's ever going to be a deal breaker when it comes to purchasing property, but i do want one. which in some ways is odd, given my deep-seated fear of my abode burning down around me while i sleep. but regardless - i'd like to have a comfortable couch on which to curl up with my feet under a blanket and my hands around a glass of wine, or cup of tea, and a fire in the fireplace. that would be nice. and that's entirely enough domestic daydreaming for one evening, so on to...

a question: do any real women wear foundation? and i don't mean concealer, and i don't mean a swipe of powder from a compact - i don't even mean those foundation stick things they have. i mean real, honest-to-goodness, out of a bottle liquid goo foundation. because if so? i don't know them. yet i see the commercials all the time, so someone must be buying it, right? which leads me to...

a mini-rant: see, BoyCat and i only have a weekend subscription to the chicago tribune, so we get the paper on friday, saturday, and sunday. on sundays, like a good little spendthrift, i usually thumb through the manufacturer's coupons to see if there's anything that we can use. why is it that proctor & gamble, et al. seem to think that the only things i'm interested in purchasing are cleaning products and/or stuff to smear on my face? clorox, mascara, windex, foundation, age-defying eye cream, swiffer, disinfectant wipes, toner, bronzer, lipstick that will apparently withstand a nuclear holocaust - this is all they offer me. you know, all i want is 50 cents off some nutri-grain bars and a buy one get one free on stovetop stuffing. is that really so much to ask??

silver lining.

i am writing this from my new office, sitting at my big U-shaped desk, and looking at the door that i can close anytime i want.

*happy dance*

Monday, March 27, 2006

as noted by kurt vonnegut.

not much left in the tank tonight for blogging, so i will merely share this bit from timequake, which nudged its way unassumingly into my memory earlier today:

In chapter 2 of this wonderful book of mine, I mention a commemoration in the chapel of the University of Chicago of the fiftieth anniversary of the atom-bombing of Hiroshima. I said at the time that I had to respect the opinion of my friend William Styron that the Hiroshima bomb saved his life. Styron was then a United States Marine, training for an invasion of the Japanse home islands, when that bomb was dropped.

I had to add, though, that I knew a single word that proved our democratic government was capable of committing obscene, gleefully rabid and racist, yahooistic murders of unarmed men, women, and children, murders wholly devoid of military common sense. I said the word. It was a foreign word. That word was Nagasaki.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

you know, i was having a good day.

a very good day, actually. slept in, read the sunday trib, went to the gym, then hung out on the couch and watched some basketball. around 3:00, BoyCat and i decide to be productive and make a grocery run to trader joe's. we pull back into the parking lot next to our apartment building, not 45 minutes later, to find a car in our parking space.

oh no you didn't.

but our eyes did not deceive - there's a freaking kia sephia parked in our space. now it's not like our unoffical space - it has a number, our permit has a number, it's ours. we pay $130 fucking dollars a month for the right to park in this little rectangle of cement. and MJW LAW1, according to the kia license plate, decided that they didn't care.

the car didn't have an apartment parking permit on it anywhere, so it's not a matter of someone else just taking their spot and them passing on the bad luck (which would be a dick move also, regardless). we have no earthly idea what made this illustrious lawyer decide our spot, at the back of a lot and up against a brick warehouse, was the most enticing. and honestly, i don't care what their reasoning is.

i called the fucking towing company, who are hopefully in the process of towing them right now. but it still means that we'll have to go down three flights, out through the courtyard, and behind the building a few times this evening to check and see whether the kia has finally abdicated the spot(one way or the other). in the meantime, our car is parked around the block with a visitor permit, and we'll have to go get it and move it back within 24 hours before the permit expires - hence having to do all the checking tonight.


things from my childhood that disturb me.

so when i was a kid, i took dance lessions. ballet, tap, and jazz from roughly the ages of 9-13 (MomCat, correct me if i'm wrong here - i'm ballparking).

this morning, i was thinking of one particular year when i was probably 10 or 11. at the end of every year we had a recital, of course, and this year was no different. my group did our tap routine to "dixieland." our costumes were soldier uniforms.

now, hold on. they weren't gray uniforms - i sigh with relief that whoever dreamed up this little song/costume combination was not that wrong in the head. the uniforms were red and black - kinda like toy soldiers, or british redcoats - and didn't even slightly resemble the outfits of those fighting "the war of northern aggression." however, the reality of the fact that at 10 years old, i did a tap dance number to the theme song of the confederacy cannot be denied. the reality of the fact that now, 15 years later, there are some sunday mornings that i absentmindedly hum in dixieland where i was born and shuffle-bal-step my way across the kitchen is also not lost on me.

i think i'm going to go to the gym, lift some weights, and ponder the way that this has affected my psyche.

Friday, March 24, 2006

a post on Being Upset.

technically, BC was not just Upset, as we were a lower seed than villanova. so the punning quality of my title is not exactly, well, quality. but i need to write this anyway.

so, yeah, BC just got beat in overtime by one point with three seconds on the clock. it was an excruciatingly painful moment to watch, that ball being inbounded and the whistle being blown. i don't want to dwell on it. what i'm more concerned about right now about why i am so upset.

i am a pretty serious sports fan, so it's not unusual for me to get worked up about a game. i was freaking out during the first round of the NCAA tournament two weeks ago. i freaked out watching a pats-dolphins game during monday night football in 2004 - it wasn't even really an important game, but it was close, and i found myself at 11:30 at night, jumping up and down on BoyCat's bed, shrieking silently because all his housemates were asleep. i freaked out during the Snow Game in 2002 - i was at a friend's graduation party at a bar he had rented out, and the bartender stayed on to let us watch the end of the game. i was jumping around like a crazy person while wearing three-inch heel knee-high boots, so i paid for it the next day. and we don't even need to get into the level of freak-out that happened during game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. seriously, that goes beyond freak-out and into clinical mental breakdown.

so, it's not that i'm surprised about being upset by the outcome of a sporting event. i'm disappointed that BC lost (and even more so at the fashion in which they lost), and i'm bummed i took a tumble in my march madness pool. but hey, it was ten bucks - i'm not going to have to go on food stamps over this. so why this tightness in my chest, this sinking feeling in my stomach?

i really don't know. i think i'm lonely. BoyCat is doing his thing at his job and internship, and that's great, and i've kinda gotten used to the schedule. some nights, it doesn't sink in that i'm here by myself until he's almost home anyway. but tonight? i feel kinda alone, and not in a good "ah, got the place to myself" way. in an "i'm lonely" way. it makes me remember that i don't have that many friends in this city. i do have some, and they're great, but unless they clone themselves tomorrow, it still won't equal "many" and i don't see them that much as it is. it makes me remember that i don't have that many friends, period. again, this is largely a self-imposed situation (what can i say, i'm picky), but in lonlier moments one can start to feel bad about that.

i'm also reminded, though it's a friday night and this should be the last thing on my mind, that i kinda hate my job and it kinda stresses me out every waking day of my life. in that sense, i have a hard time looking forward to anything. i mean, i know i won't be in this job forever - maybe i won't even be in it six months from now - but i still can't look forward to the future with any kind of optimism. i just sit here and feel like i don't have the skill set right now to move up into a job in the field that i want, and i don't want to just keep doing what i'm doing, but i also don't want to go back to making a pittance for a hard day's work.

and hell - even if (probably non-existent) god came down here, sat next to me on the couch and said, "whatever your dream job is, you've got it. just say the word, and i'll make it so." you know what? i wouldn't know what to tell him (forgive the judeo-christian gendering here, it's residual). i don't know what i want to do, and i'm afraid of floating through life on that sad, aimless, ineffectual notion.

so here i sit, in my nice warm apartment in a great city, with my sweet little cat sitting next to me, waiting for my wonderful boyfriend to come home, with money in the bank and good plans for the weekend, but whining like a baby. i see the ridiculousness here, i do. and yet, all i can hear is the droning hum of the refrigerator and the clack of the keys under my fingers. all i can see is the dust in the corners that i haven't swept and the junk that i haven't cleared away. all i can feel is something heavy, pushing down on me like the beginning of a bad dream. and my team lost.

i lost.

friday cat blogging, sweet jesus please don't do this to me edition.

i am watching the BC game. we were up 25-9. twenty-five to nine. and now? even at 28. i can't handle this. i have the tv on mute, for fear i'm going to have a slight heart attack.

in trying to not go a little crazy myself, i will post some pictures of CatCat going a little crazy. she often likes to perch herself on the edge of the couch and then try to capture her tail. sadly, she has never succeeded - yet. she holds out hope.

ok, seriously, right now i have the laptop perched up on my knees so i can't see the tv. this is too painful to watch.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

two things that i love.

1. discovering Overheard in Chicago! thanks for the heads up cinnamon! now i can send in all the ridiculous conversations that i overhear on the El.

2. trader joe's. good lord, that place is fantastic. it was one of those places that, up until about a month ago, i had heard of and been inside once or twice, but never really registered on my mental radar. then i started noticing that when we'd be at friends' houses and they'd have good food and i'd be like "this is tasty!" and they'd be like "it's from trader joe's!" (and then i'd be like "far out no way!" and they'd be like "way!" and be like "wow that is like so cool." that is to pre-empt any of you making fun of me for my "like" usage. stuff it.) so then some co-workers chimed in about how great it was, and decided i had to check it out. i've been three times, and i am completely in love. their hummus! their sweet peppers! their frozen veggie burritos! their salsa! their indian food that i can cook in five minutes! it is almost too good to be true.

oh, and two buck chuck. can't forget that. and it really says something about how much i love trader joe's that i'm willing to write the word "chuck" twice in one sentence.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

showing love for public transit, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Hobo: I would like to inform you of something you already know. You are all very cheap.

--L train

what??, do not do this to me today.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

what she said.

in the comments section of my previous post, i stumble around with some half-baked ideas about our culture's messed-up relationship to both marriage and divorce. i want to write more on this, because i think i will have much to say. today i found* this interview with author Stephanie Coontz on alternet, which elaborates on much of what i was trying to say in that comment thread, or will want to say in a later post. to wit:

We would be remiss to think that [marriage] was ever a stable institution. Instead, it has always been in flux. It has only been based on the concept of love for 200 years; before that, it was a way of ensuring economic and political stability. Through painstakingly-detailed descriptions and anecdotes from hunter-gatherer days to the modern era, Coontz points out that "almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before." So when we think of cohabitation, gay marriage, or stepfamilies as deviating from the "norm," we are wrong, because there has never really been a "norm."

For a country obsessed with the perfect image of the nuclear family -- mother, father and two kids -- this is eye-opening. We are trying to force ourselves to be something we never really were, or were for a very brief period of time. Instead, Coontz argues, we need to be more tolerant of and open to different forms of union. People with traditional "family values" lack the skills to adapt to social realities that have changed marriage, such as the increased independence of women.

yes! this is what i'm talking about, people. well, i'm not talking about it that much yet. but read the interview anyway - it's good.

*hat tip to the pandagon archives for the link.

Monday, March 20, 2006

one day down, four to go.

there are many richly interesting topics on which i really do want to blog. and i will. but not tonight, as i am going to eat three macaroons, watch the daily show, and go to bed.

yes, exactly three macaroons.

really, though, i've been thinking about feminism and "happiness" after that ridiculous study that came out about women in traditional gender roles being happier. this just in: the sky is blue. the happy feminist and shakes tag team this one into submission, so i really can't add much more to their brilliant take-downs, but it has gotten me thinking.

i'm also thinking about reform versus revolution, which was a central tenet in this week's read for my bookclub* (which was Assata: An Autobiography, by the way, and it was pretty interesting. so many things you don't learn in school...). is reform worthwhile? is revolution feasible? what to do if you feel the answer to both those questions is "no?"

i'm also thinking about marriage. you thought you all were off the hook, but you're not! we've got gender role expectations and the subconscious, we've got the way the word "wedding" tacks on 20% to the price of absolutely anything, we've got cultural hypocrisy about monogamy and divorce, and we've got dresses. so many potential dress dilemmas, so little time.

ok, that's all for the moment. i know it's a little bit of everything and a whole lot of nothing, but that's where i'm at this week. where i'm at right this moment is needing coconut, jon stewart, and bed.

*a little added excitement for tonight's bookclub was that i got to officially meet roni and cinnamon, two fantastic chicago feminists and bloggers and all around good peoples. though they didn't know who i was, i knew them, as i had been admiring their wit and wisdom in bookclub since before i started blogging :) so it was good to be able to introduce myself outside the realm of teh interweb.

a harbinger?

as i lay in bed last night, desperately attempting not to think about the impending work week and just fall asleep, i noticed that my left achille's heel was throbbing.

i don't take that as a good sign.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

friday cat blogging, "bradley beats kansas what?" edition

as you can see, CatCat is very excited about the fact that i called it.

she's a big fan of adam morrison and gonzaga, herself. just can't resist that dirty moustache.

Friday, March 17, 2006

sorry, but i can't resist.

i have to rain a little bit on the st. patrick's day parade. check out slate's most shocking exposé of one corporation's push to litter the world with faux irish pubs.

wait a minute. you mean these beautiful wood floors and stained-glass windows are pre-fab? you mean those leathery old books and quaint little carvings on the shelf didn't really come from a country cottage in west kerry? quick, get out the fainting couch!

oh, and people, for the love of god - please don't drink any green beer tonight.

march madness - a new england scene.

setting: a warehouse in northeastern massachusetts. DadCat is working an openhouse at this warehouse with a few other guys - it is not his home warehouse, he's just there to help for the day. his co-worker from the home warehouse, tom, is manning the store there.

time: mid-afternoon.

my dad's phone rings, and he answers it.

tom (gravely): DadCat! hey, have you heard what's happening?

DadCat (concerned): no, what?

tom: BC is down by five with like thirty seconds left in overtime!

DadCat: oh my god! are you serious?

tom: yeah. i thought you'd want to know. put it on the radio or something.

DadCat: jesus. ok.

tom: all right, talk to you later.

DadCat: ok, bye.

DadCat turns to the other guys at the warehouse, who are all looking at him with stricken faces.

guy (concerned): what happened??

DadCat: BC is down by five with thirty seconds left in overtime.

guy: jesus, i thought somebody died or something!

DadCat (reaching for the radio dial): people die every day. for god's sake, this is BC basketball!

and you wonder where i get it from.....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

i can't take it no more!

six inches of snow in chicago today?? what?? i went to bed last night anticipating the dreaded mixture of rain, sleet, and a little snow (i will not use that abhorrent term that meterologists use for this mix, as the word itself sends me into fits). i woke up with a forecast of six inches, and all the snow trucks and plows in the city poised and ready.

i'm sorry, but i am done with winter. done. this does not fit into my plan of increasingly warmer weather and beautiful, bright, sunshine-y days in my near future. curse you, tom skilling, curse you!

in other news:

go BC!

our gothic towers beat all those other schools' gothic towers any day.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

your wednesday one-liner(s).

i've got two of 'em for you today, because i love words and the way that people abuse them. courtesy, of course, of Overheard in New York.

Teen girl: Wait, what's the intifada? Wait, do any of you speak Spanish?

--F train

Girl: I think "y'all" is singular. "Y'alls" is plural.

--58th & 9th

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

a public service announcement.

for those of you who, like myself, do not have the glorious opportunity to participate in an office pool for this year's NCAA tournament, fear not. your idle gambling propensities can still be satisfied.

toast is running a pool!

so if you're in the mood to obsess about college basketball for the next three weeks, or just in the mood to pick utah state to win it all and let the chips fall where they may, swing by his blog and follow the link to sign up. you can play for fun, or play for sum - it'll cost you ten bucks if the latter is the case.

me personally, i am still tweaking my brackets, so i will withhold most of my bold proclamations for a little while. i do have two things to say, though:

1 - boston college over duke in the final. sweet, sweet revenge.

2 - bradley over kansas in the first round. that's my upset. deal with it.

slouching towards technological enlightenment.

so, if you scroll down to the bottom of my sidebar look under the About section of my sidebar, you'll see i have added a delightful new feature.

that's right, you can now email me. oh, the joy and the excitement.

of course, it took me six months to figure out how to do this (thanks, toast, for the word on mail forwarding), but it is still not perfect. first, i couldn't get the "Email Me!" link where i really wanted it, which is below the "About Me" section. i could get it there, but then i couldn't get the sidebar to add a space between the link and the "Recent" header. then i stuck it at the bottom of the sidebar, but for some reason it would only put it right next to "Site Feed" and not below it. i used the powers of basic perception and common sense to notice the "li" tags floating around in my template, so i tried that, and for some reason blogger decided if it was going to move "Email Me!" down a line, it sure as shit needed to add a bullet point too.

why? i do not know.

if anyone wants to offer some html enlightenment in the comments, i'm all ears. thanks, Jaynie K!

or you could, you know, "Email Me!"

Monday, March 13, 2006

it's cold here, and my cat is crazy.

i guess those are two things you either already know, or have absolutely no interest in knowing. sorry about that.

i tried to get a little post up during the day today, but blogger was being a bee-eye-tee-see-aych earlier. really, it wouldn't have been any more interesting than this post, though, so you didn't miss much.

changes are afoot at nonprofitland. i am busy. i am hoping to be less busy in about three weeks, after i train the person who is coming on to take my old job (which i have been doing for the last two months, along with my current job) and we get some event planning stuff straightened out with a contract person, who is coming on to fill in for my other development co-worker who's leaving. leaving like, next friday. and our huge annual fundraising event is about six weeks away.

people, i am not an event planner. i will tell you that much. and luckily, my boss knows it, so i am not going to be adding "gala-coordinator-against-my-will" to my resume bullet points any time soon.

anyway, crazy shit is happening. i am attempting to be as Zen as possible about it. then again, i tried to be Zen about the 2004 red sox - yankees ALCS after game 3...that didn't work out so well. so maybe i'll just aim for being Not A Ball Of Stress.

CatCat, mix me a drink.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

si, se puede.

(cc) jvoves, from flickr

i don't speak spanish. but i learned what the title of this post meant when i read the articles this morning about the huge immigrants' rights march that happened here in chicago yesterday. the trib, of course, has good coverage, but if you aren't registered, you can check it out here.

i think it's freaking fantastic that so many people showed up to stand up for themselves - that people showed up in such vast numbers that the country, and capitol hill, had to perk up its ears and listen for a minute. but what's most interesting to me is how largely unprepared the mainstream chicago media was when it happened.

i mean, to be fair, the sheer number of people surprised even event organizers. but for however off-guard people connected to the march were, the media was three steps behind them. BoyCat, who interns at a certain news outlet, noted how it really seemed like the media in town had been caught unawares on friday afternoon, and spent the rest of the day scrambling to catch up. this resulted in bizarre situations like this news outlet's reporter covering the george ryan trial around the corner while mayor daley, governor blagojevich, et al. made their fiery speechs at the rally. this meant the newsroom was scrambling for coverage of speakers, some of which didn't come through til 9:00 pm.

i think this is (obviously) emblematic of the invisibility in which most illegal immigrant workers function day to day in society. they fix our cars, cook our food, manicure our lawns and clean our buildings and homes. the chicago area got a big wake-up call to that reality yesterday, when these tens of thousands of workers walked off their jobs to stand together and be seen. and the media was unprepared because the organization of this event didn't run through their normal mainstream channels - it started via word of mouth, and then was picked up and promoted through spanish language radio. apparently, the mainstream media only keeps half an ear to the ground when it comes to spanish media, because there were only a smattering of stories about the upcoming march in the two days before it happened. i read one brief profile of a spanish language DJ who was promoting the event, and the planned march warranted a quick mention on chicago's fox news at 10:00 pm on thursday night. that's it. and then the next day, 100,000 jammed the loop, affected traffic and evening El commutes, and generally caught the whole city's attention for the day.

so, i think everything about this event is fascinating. the turnout, the solidarity, the advocacy and support. the way in which so many people were ready for an event like this to happen. the way in which so may other people were not.

Friday, March 10, 2006

friday cat blogging, it's been a long week edition.

you know life's been tough lately when:

you can't even muster up the energy to defend yourself against the catnip mouse that's tauntingly perched itself on your back.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

running in heels.

i just went out to buy some soda at the grocery store around the corner. it's stormy here in chicago today, and when i walked into the store it was just drizzling, but when i came out it was full on raining. i kinda like the city that way, actually - the slick streets, the umbrellas bobbing along the sidewalks, the blur of all the neon signs against all the wet pavement.

so i'm just enjoying my little walk back from the store, dry under my umbrella, and as i turn the corner onto my street i see this girl. she's probably a few hundred yards down the street. she has no umbrella, and i'm imagining she's just coming home from work because she's wearing a skirt and carrying a few bags. when i see her, she's running towards me - not sprinting, but not lazily trotting either. she's running at exactly the speed one runs when one is caught in the rain without an umbrella, but the destination is near.

this is unremarkable to me at first. but then after a few seconds she comes within audible range, and i hear the tell-tale clicking sound. oh my god, is she running like that and wearing heels?

she is.

as she turned to dash into an apartment building twenty feet from me, i saw that she was wearing black, pointy-toed, three-inch stilettos. she was carrying three bags, too - what looked like a work bag and two shopping bags. and she ran like she was wearing nikes and just out training for a race. not a stumble, or a wince, or a whiff of hesitation or frustation about it.

honestly, i'm not sure i'll ever see a feat of such magnitude again.

running in heels girl, i salute you.

blog against sexism a day late.

ok, so i didn't get around to it last night. i went to the grocery store, then realized i should get started on my book for bookclub in two weeks, then of course there was project runway. chloe dao, america's next big fashion designer? really?


anywho, as i was traipsing around the internet yesterday reading everyone else's great posts for blog against sexism day, i came across hugo's contribution, "What I'm doing and what I have failed to do": a long and personal meme on anti-sexist work. i really liked his two part question both to himself and to his readers:

1. What are three ways in which I am working to end sexism in my personal life and in the broader world?

2. What are three ways in which I am continuing to "fall short of the mark" in terms of embodying my ideals?

these queries are thought-provoking for me, and i hope he doesn't mind that i'm borrowing this format to blog against sexism today.

three things I'm doing:

1. trying to make a career out of advocating for women's rights.

i'm not there yet, but my ultimate goal is to be working for an agency or organization that is devoted to advocating for women's rights. i'm trying to build my professional skill set so that when and if such an opportunity does arise, i've got a shot at the job. i'm also working on continuing to stay current with developments on the local, national, and global level that affect women, so as to be connected to what's happening, what's being done, and what needs doing.

2. i embrace the term "feminist" to describe my perspectives and my goals.

this might seem very basic, especially to other feminist bloggers and thinkers for whom this is second nature. it's become second nature to me to, and i never really hesitated to adopt the feminist mantle as i learned more and more about what the term meant. but for many people out there, there is still (unfortunately) a dissonance between the term and their lives. i think i'm good at never shying away from the term "feminist," and that i do my best to promote its use among other, like-minded people.

3. i work hard to live out feminist principles, not just espouse them.

in other words, i try to walk the walk as much as i talk the talk. BoyCat and i work at making our relationship as egalitarian as possible and are conscious of the way that gendered expectations can affect a relationship. it doesn't mean we always succeed at being a model "feminist" couple! just that we continue to try. there are other issues, too, that i remain conflicted about for feminist reasons (see my blatherings about marriage last month as a shining example of that!), and i try not to make decisions about them until i've thought through the implications on my feminism, my other belief systems, and my life in general. it's not the neatest, cleanest mental process in the world, but i feel it's vital and try to never get too fatigued to keep doing it.

three ways that i "fall short of the mark":

1. i could give more of my time and energy to the women's movement right now.

though i do ultimately aim to give all my professional time and talent to women's rights, at the moment there's much more that i could contribute on the ground. i don't really volunteer or work with any women's orgs right now, though i really could if i just got off my lazy butt more often. there's always work to be done, and i should be helping to do it - paycheck or no paycheck!

2. i should stop shying away from a feminist fight.

as opinionated as i am, and as much as i know that my opinions are backed up by logical, rational arguments and thus deserve to be heard, i often hesitate to really engage in a battle of wits with someone who disagrees with my position. now sometimes this is a good thing - i don't really want to be like that girl from grad school who won't sit down for a game of cards because the deck is misogynistic (the king's higher than the queen, doncha know). i also don't want to be that person that seems to pick a fight about everything. but on the flip side of that, i think i let a lot of opportunities to have a real, lively, interesting debate slide because i'm more concerned with people liking me than being right. the thing is, with many people i either shouldn't care whether they like me because they're raging idiots, or they're good rational people and would probably continue to like me even after a vigorous debate about abortion, or gay marriage, or whatever. so i should pipe up more often.

3. i should start walking the walk more when it comes to body image.

i think i've made serious strides in this area over the last five years or so, but as a woman, it's really hard to match your feminist theory with your daily reality when it comes to accepting your body. we're fighting such a tide with pop culture and its size 2 norms, it's so ubiquitous and insidious at the same time, that it's hard to wake up every day and think "i'm fine the way that i am." i can do it sometimes - i should try to do it more.

ok, that's enough introspection for now. thanks again to hugo for the format, it got me thinking.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

a note.

no links, though, i promise. i just wanted to pop up and say that i know today is blog against sexism day. i know i have not, as of yet, blogged against sexism. but i'm going to try to later tonight, if i can think of something more coherent then "um, ahhhh, sexism's bad, k?"

don't hold out too much hope.

honestly, it's mainly that the last two days at nonprofitland have been The Suck, and i'm not sure how much brainpower i will have left by this evening. i'm going to try to marshall the brain cell troops, though, because regardless of my tiredness levels, i would have to slap my own wrist with the Bad Feminist ruler if i didn't take a few moments out of my night to blame the patriarchy!

oh, crap, but you know what? the finale of project runway is on too! shit. that's going to be some serious multi-tasking - handicapping the fashion week race, and sticking it to The Man at the same time. this should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

linky, continued.

women of america, have you gotten the creeping sense that something is amiss lately? that some strange movements are afoot?

rana breaks it down for you: guess what? it's been decided that you're not quite human.

linky linky.

earlier during my lunch hour, Broadsheet kindly directed me to this LA Times op-ed about abortion, overpopulation, and superstore worship.

i like it.

Monday, March 06, 2006

i was going to wish you a Happy Pulaski Day.

but then, i walked over to the library on my way home from the El, even though my legs were killing me from lifting weights at the gym yesterday (hey, gotta start somewhere). i arrived at said public library, darkened and shuttered, and found a notice on the door that says they are closed in observance of Pulaski Day.

damn you, little local holiday that's cute and fun to celebrate, right up until it inconveniences me in some way. i would try to get mad at you, but as SisterCat pointed out on her first visit to chicago, your name is just so fun to say.


Sunday, March 05, 2006


ok, the golden globe i could see. but the academy award for best picture - Crash?? are you fucking kidding me?

what a tragedy.

i need another drink.

some live, semi-drunken oscar blogging.

overheard in our aparment so far tonight:

"interpretative dance! interpretative dance!" --BoyCat, encouraging me to come back to the living room as i was finishing mixing my (second) margarita in the blender, during the performance of some song from Crash. the set was on fire, too. for real.

"oh, my. how déclassé."* -- me, after watching the March of the Penguins winners walk up holding giant stuffed penguins.

"this, from the girl downing her third margarita and wearing yoga pants??" -- BoyCat, in response to above critique.

"the antichrist is brought to you in part by Lexus." -- a voiceover heard on the History Channel, during a commerical break from a two-hour special on the antichrist.

i'm not sure we'll be able to top that last one.

*thanks elizalou! now i am a word/blogger ninja.

Friday, March 03, 2006

on a lighter note.

i forgot to mention that the other day, i think i got my best google search yet. someone found my blog with the query "why does camille paglia hate everything?"

sadly, my friend, i can only provide you with rumor and conjecture as far as this goes. i imagine only her team of (hopefully well-paid) therapists knows the truth.

there is no reason why.

today around 3:30, i opened up while sitting in my cubicle at work. i had 15 minutes to kill before i had to go run an errand with my co-worker, so i figured i'd peruse the day's headlines. amidst the other stories on the front page, one in particular caught my eye. i knew i should not open it. it was a salacious headline, a headline about something awful that had apparently happened to somone. i knew it led to a story that i didn't want to know, and didn't need to know. and yet sometimes, the masochistic impulse is too strong.

don't go to cnn and try to figure out which story i'm talking about, please. because you don't want to know. really, you don't. and if you already know, you don't want to be reminded. it is one of those stories that corrodes your faith in humanity to the degree that you can start to feel air whistling through the gaps. it's the kind of story that makes you cover your mouth with your hand instinctively, because though the urge to vomit may not be happening physically, it is happening in your mind.

i had to get up out of my chair and go lock myself in the bathroom, so that i could cry in private.

and here it is, four hours later, and i can't stop thinking about it. i am trying so hard to think about anything else, to distract myself, but it keeps fighting to the forefront of my consciousness. what happened to this person is so heinous, so unspeakable - what happened to this person is my worst fear realized. and it's not fiction. my worst nightmare happened to someone, in a real place, in real, agonizing time. and right now, honestly, i don't know how to deal with that.

i am writing about it right now because i don't know what else to do. there is nothing else to do. it's a reality that is sitting in my stomach, in the middle of my person, like an anchor. i feel like it's poisoning me with every passing second. it feels that way because it is unchangable - it happened, it's true, the world really is this way.

and of course, the crux of the problem is that i can't alter the fact that the world just is this way. not only can i not change it, but i also don't have a belief system with which to cope with that fact. i don't believe in a benevolent god. i don't believe in a malevolent god. i don't believe in multiple gods, i don't believe in fate, i don't believe that "everything happens for a reason." there's no good reason for what happened to that person, or all the other people who suffer tremendously and needlessly and who live awful, unappreciated lives or die tragic, hopeless deaths. my only belief is that there is no reason why. and that is of no comfort whatsoever when one comes face to face with the bottomless cruelty of humanity.

really, when i think about the wanton atrocity visited upon this person, i unconsciously draw in a deep breath, because it's like i almost start to drown in the thought. it is too much, and my body rebels against it.

i don't know when i'll forget about this particular story. maybe tomorrow, but not likely. maybe next week. maybe it will stay with me always, lodged in the part of my mind that stores fear and anxiety. but what i do know is that eventually, there will be another story on that i know i should not read - another story that will remind me of everything i do not want to know.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

i need to catch up on my ted casablanca, apparently.

via educand, i am amazed by this paparazzi-esqe picture of jake gyllenhaal looking unbearably adorable. and completely gay.

adorable, and gay.

what is going on here? am i the last to know? who is this man with him and, as a commenter under the picture notes, why is he wearing that awful mood ring?

i am so confused, but i will get to the bottom of this. next stop: E! online.

little known fact: a wedding band provides you with improved breaking time and better peripheral vision.

so i called our insurance guy at allstate the other day about, well, an insurance-related matter. we actually only have renter’s insurance through allstate, and i wanted to see if we switched our car insurance over there too if we could end up paying less.

our insurance guy, michael, is very nice. he asked me a few basic questions – my and BoyCat's ages, what car we drove, how many miles we put on it, whether we had any recent accident claims or moving violations. after getting my name, and noting that it was different than BoyCat’s name (the renter’s insurance is under him), he asked if we were married. i said “no.” a few minutes later, he said again, “so you’re not married?” again, i said “no.”

he spent a few minutes crunching the numbers, and then let me know what the rough estimate would be on our monthly payments (unfortunately, still about 20 bucks more than we pay now). i told him that we were paying less than that now, but i was hoping since we had both turned 25 since getting our last policy, that it might have ended up lower. he said, “yeah, well turning 25 did help. your next big dip, though, will come with marriage.”

*arches eyebrow*

i said, “really? the only real way for us to get our insurance cost down is to get married?” he said, “yup.” i said (trying to keep my voice from resembling a screeching howler monkey), “that’s ridiculous! i mean, having a marriage certificate doesn’t make me a better driver! i’m a good driver now, i don’t need a wedding ring to prove it!” he understood my pain, of course, but pointed out that statistics show (lies, damned lies, and statistics!) that married people are safer drivers than single people, so there you have it.

i’m not going to sit here and argue with statistics. i’m sure they do bear out that assertion, and that there’s a whole fucked-up psychology behind it that goes something like “oh man, i’m married [and thus probably have kids, or will be having kids] now, so suddenly my life is valuable and i don’t want to lose it doing 95 mph on the Dan Ryan and wrapping my car around a concrete barrier.” but hey, that’s not me! i value my life right now, actually! and i am a good driver, i brake slowly (sometimes), i don’t cause accidents and i don’t get speeding tickets. why should i be penalized for everyone else’s messed-up psyches??

sometimes being held under the thumb of The Man really chafes. especially when the pressure reaches my wallet.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

from Overheard in New York, this one goes out to all of you who have ever worked in a bookstore. for a summer, or a year, or off and on for almost a decade (you know who you are!).

Lady: There was a guy that was helping me before. He's really smart and it's like he was reading my mind. Do you know where I can find him?

--Borders, 57th & Park


am i total snob? because my mouth literally dropped open when i read this.

outrage of the day.

at 7:30 this morning, i opened up the trib's homepage and came across this delightful headline:

Alleged Rape Victim Threatened With Jail

*rubs sleep out of eyes, hits self over head with sledgehammer, reads headline again*

yup, that's what it says. i know the trib is restricted, so here's the gist:

A Naperville woman who on Tuesday refused a judge's order to view a videotape of her alleged rape could be jailed on a contempt of court charge if she does not change her mind Wednesday, and the judge is considering a request to drop sexual assault charges against the Burr Ridge man on trial.

"I am ordering you to answer these questions," Judge Kerry Kennedy told the woman after an hourlong recess to discuss her refusal. "The consequences are that you would be held in contempt of court, with incarceration possible. Are you still refusing?"

"Yes," she responded.

"I will give you overnight to think about this," Kennedy said. "Tomorrow, I will ask you again."

The woman was 16 years old when she allegedly was assaulted and videotaped four years ago at a party in the Burr Ridge home of Adrian Missbrenner, 20. He was one of four men charged in connection with the incident, and his trial on charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault and child pornography began Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court in Bridgeview.

obviously, i don't even know where to begin. go check out Scott Lemieux for a qualified legality take. though i don't know the ins and outs of whether this is legal, it is certainly beyond-the-pale despicable. there is question as to whether the sex was "consensual" (isn't there always?), but the accuser says she had been drinking heavily and has no recollection of the incident at all. given that "prosecutors say the tape shows her unconscious as people spit on her and write derogatory words on her naked legs and abdomen," i feel like the debate about the "consensual" nature of the incident is pretty moot.

and really, what answers could this girl give after viewing a videotape of her own rape that she couldn't give otherwise? what is on the tape that couldn't be described to her? what, for the love of god, is the point?

oh right. brazen intimidation and rank misogyny. we've come a long way, baby.

(thanks to Broadsheet for the Lemieux link)