Monday, July 31, 2006

the shrine.

in the summer of my sophomore year in college, a 16 year old girl named molly bish vanished from her lifeguarding job at a pond in warren, massachusetts. that summer, i was spending my time working odd summer jobs and driving up to kennebunk, maine to see my boyfriend on many of the weekends. i liked kennebunk a lot – still do – it’s a beautiful coastal town with a lot of charm and local, out-of-the-way places to uncover. one such place that had caught my eye months before was a spot just off the road into kennebunk center on the way from route one – if you weren’t looking for it, you’d probably never even notice it. it was a religious facility of sorts, a monastery i think. there were two fairly non-descript buildings on the property, but what attracted my notice was an odd quality of light that shone from the grounds in the evening.

upon further inspection, the light came from a large stone shrine at the back of the grounds, with a statue of the virgin mary protected by a huge awning. it was beautiful, and unique. i found myself drawn to it – i would drive onto the grounds and peer at it through the car window. once, i actually ambled down to take a closer look, afraid someone would stop me, tell me i couldn’t be there. they didn’t.

i didn’t know what to do with my curiosity about the shrine, really. it was residue from my catholic upbringing, which had been hit with a battering ram by life, death, and everything in between in the years prior. what remained was in tatters, and i circled religion warily, unsure of how to lay down in it again and still be comfortable. so i approached the shrine with an affected air of detachment, but i couldn’t deny that something inside me responded to it, wanted it to matter.

then, we all heard about molly bish.

i don’t know how long it was after she disappeared that i pulled off the road and down the gravel path, and i don’t know what it was that i hoped to accomplish. i just recollect being overcome with a sense of powerlessness, with a growing sense of dread that this was life – an empty lifeguard chair, an eerie quiet, and no answers.

i parked the car and ventured down the incline, down the concrete path through the grass that led to the shrine. there was no one around. i knelt in front of it, laced my fingers together and placed them in front of me. i searched the face of the statue in front of me, the folds of her dress, the shadows in the concrete concave that surrounded her. i began, silently, to pray.

hail mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee.
blessed art thou amongst women, and sacred is the fruit of thy womb jesus.
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, amen.

and it felt good. it felt good to put the words together in my mind, to order them and send them outward in an even, measured tone. because what else could i do? what else could i offer molly, a girl just like me – a girl who, in my sleepless nightmares, was me? this was the only way that i could try to help, the only thing i could start and then finish and present, whole, in the hopes that it might have some power. so i said a hail mary, and then i said one again.

hail mary, full of grace, the lord is with thee.
blessed art thou amongst women, and sacred is the fruit of thy womb jesus.
pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, amen.

and again. and again. and again. over and over the words rolled in my head, a stream of proclamation buoyed along by a desperate and incoherent hope. but how many was enough? ten? twenty? an hour’s worth? once i had started, i didn’t know how to stop – i didn’t know when it would be was enough.

a deep, distant roll of thunder spread across the sky over my head.

i couldn’t stop. the concrete under my knees was achingly cold, and the muscles in the backs of my legs began to cramp, but i kept praying. i felt the gaping space behind me, spreading backwards past the grass, and the car, and the thick line of pine trees at the property’s edge, and the highway past that. i felt the impenetrable wall in front of me. a cracked, crooked pathway had led me to this point, and there was nowhere left to go. i saw, in a surge, a thick flash of lightning overhead.

i knew it wouldn’t last. i knew that i couldn’t say enough hail marys to change anything. i knew that there was no sense in any of it. and at some point, my eyes still searching frantically for somewhere to focus, the words stopped flowing, and it was over. as i stood, the first fat drops of rain darkened the stone around me. i turned and ran for the car, through the dimming twilight, away from the outstretched palms of the backlit statue. i remember the hurried slam of the car door, the way the rain sounded as it pounded on the roof, the way the roar drowned out the turning of the ignition. but i don’t remember what i was thinking about as i drove away. molly? myself? probably both.

it would be years before they found her body, or what was left of it – a blue bathing suit, and some earth-covered bones.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

sunday morning trauma.

what is it with the early hour crazy-making weekend? yesterday morning it was the boomers, this morning it's a hair salon.

around 10:30 i call up my salon to make an appointment with my stylist, sarah, who has given me a number of fantastic cuts and is all-around super cute and great. really, i just need the cut i have cleaned up, since i don't want to go to vegas in three weeks looking like a shaggy dog. the receptionist answers the phone.

"hi," i say, "i was wondering if sarah was working on friday and free for an appointment."

"oh," says the receptionist, "actually...sarah moved to spain."

spain. obviously. of course.

"what?? spain? when?" i say. "march, i think. march or may," the receptionist answers, and it must be may, because i have definitely been to the salon since march, and sarah mentioned nothing about, oh, moving to europe. i mean, i can see it - this is a girl who rented an apartment in buenos aires for two weeks for her last vacation. but really, who is prepared for the news that her fantastic hairstylist has moved across the atlantic?

eventually, though, i composed myself, and i just scheduled an appointment with another stylist. life will go on. and i know that i'm moving myself in two months, but selfishly, it would've been nice if she could've waited a little while longer to flee the country so i could get in one last haircut! oh well.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

fifteen minutes.

i was awake for fifteen minutes this morning before the baby boomers managed to infuriate me.

on the front page of the trib's New Homes section was this story called "Squeeze Play: Some Baby Boomers resist the idea of severe downsizing." i'll show you the portion of the article i was able to get through before flying into a pre-caffeinated rage:

Henry and Kathy Nothnagel can't say their friends didn't warn them. With their kids out on their own, after 20 years in Kenilworth, the Nothnagels decided to downsize, moving into a townhouse in Northbrook. But they soon realized they had gone too far--and we're not talking geographically.

"We did what people warned us against doing: we downsized too much for our taste," said Henry Nothnagel.

So instead of trying to scratch out elbow room, the couple, in their early 60s, built an approximately 4,000-square-foot home in Glenview.

"It's probably a little bit larger than what we would have liked, but that's fine," he said.

"$%!!@#$&#", i said. "what?" BoyCat inquired.

"fucking baby boomers."

now see, i expounded as i angrily shook sweet & low into my coffee moments later, what makes me crazy is how boomers have this way of making everything about their lives seem to be of paramount importance. so it's a double insult - i think it's ridiculous that you, henry and kathy of the north suburbs, have decided that you need 4,000 feet of living space to be comfortable, and doubly ridiculous that the trib sees fit to write about it. the hubris! the entitlement! the un-mit-i-gated gall! (sorry, channeling the grinch there for a moment.) but really, what gets me is the implication that boomers are obviously the most important and relevant generation ever, and thus we should not only tolerate their raving self-involvement and blatant disregard (and often open disdain) of younger generations, but we should document it! because it's, you know, important.

to that i say, what the fuck ever.

i need more coffee.

friday cat blogging, immobilized edition.

oh, you know what? it's hot.

so hot that CatCat can't even be enticed to move from her convenient spot right in the way of everyone's feet, a.k.a. the doorway.

yes, that is a shopping bag overflowing with clothes. it's the "to be donated" bag that's been sitting there, not donated, for a good three months. i just keep piling stuff on there after i put it on and discover it's too small/too big/too short/too ugly to wear anymore. sometime before we move, it's going to have to make it's way up the street to the Brown Elephant thrift store. CatCat will be sad to lose her doorway companion, but she's just going to have to live with it.

Friday, July 28, 2006

a list.

things that i've discovered they do have in the DC area

1. ikea (hell, most of our apartment is furnished via the swedes at the moment, so why stop now?)

2. trader joe's (thank god, i think i'd die without access to their frozen veggie burritos.)

3. chipotle (mmmm, cheap and delicious chips and guacamole.)

things that i've discovered they don't have in the DC area

1. chase banks (i hate switching banks. and the irony is i'll probably end up switching to bank of america, which is the bank i switched from when i moved to chicago. ugh.)

2. chicago-style hot dogs (i've googled the hell out of this. nothing.)

3. a nice one-bedroom apartment in a nice urban neighborhood for under $1,200 (this, as you can imagine, is the most distressing item of the three.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

ok, that's enough of that.

so when i got off the El at belmont, the sky was overcast. but as i turned north onto halsted, it became a shade closer to ominous. the grayish-bluish-greenish tinge seemed fairly far off in the distance, though, so i ambled along on my merry way, ipod humming.

within a few blocks, though, the storm seemed quite close - you know that way in which the air can turn almost imperceptibly from normal to stormy? it's kind of amazing when that moment flips over right in front of you, all around you. it's suddenly a darkened version of day, and entire trees are swaying in synchronicity. everything is in movement, and yet it feels very, very still.

as i walked the final half block to my apartment building, i was thinking how it was a rare and enjoyable experience to be walking into a storm. it seemed like at any moment the sky could open up - a flash of lightening or rumble of thunder was imminent. there's a delicious anticipation to it, and my eyes scanned the swirling treetops and thick, cloudy sky for signs of the coming deluge.

then my phone rang. it was BoyCat.

i picked up just as i was coming into the courtyard, and he asked "where are you?" i said, "the courtyard. why?" he said "good. well, you should get inside." the wind made an insistent whooshing sound in between my ear and the edge of the phone. "ok. why, are you seeing the sky out the window? dark, huh?" then he said something that will send a chill down any new englander's spine:

"there's a tornado warning."

i'll tell you what, my romantic musings about the advent of a storm evaporated as i hauled ass inside. i only had about 1500 feet between me and the apartment door, but i could not have gotten there fast enough!

thunderstorms = lovely and ripe for pondering. tornados = terrifying and ripe for provoking me to drink.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

way to go, chicago!

"All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'"


dammit, harold reynolds. i liked you on baseball tonight. you were funny, you were knowledgable, you had good teeth and you wore a suit really well. who knew you were also a skeeve, just like so many others of your kind.

so regrettable. so depressing.

according to a new york post about the sexual harassment charge against reynolds, the atmosphere in bristol has never really been, shall we say, female-friendly:

ESPN has been vigilant about sexual harassment because it reportedly has been a problem in Bristol for years. In 2000, the book "ESPN: The Uncensored History" reported rampant cases of harassment of women. Most prominently mentioned was Mike Tirico, who was even suspended at one point.

Tirico, though, never was fired and now is one of the main faces of the network. This fall, he will be ESPN's new voice for "Monday Night Football." Since the book's release, ESPN has denied its validity.

ESPN is known for giving its top on-air employees warnings. There are many cases where ESPN executives have chosen to provide on-air personnel with second chances.

the article points out two examples of such second chances - michael irvin and rick sutcliffe - which were actually not harassment related, but drug and alcohol related. it would be fascinating to know exactly how ESPN goes about combating sexism and harassment in what is certainly a male-dominated environment. and interesting study in HR, to be sure.

sleep please.

just got back from the white sox game. we lost.

now i am tired.

also, churros are delicious.

Monday, July 24, 2006

our trip to iowa: a quick photo tour.

so, this weekend, BoyCat and i went to iowa. the reason for this trip was twofold.

one, in my almost 26 years of living, i have never been west of the mississippi river. never. not even via plane. which is ridiculous, right? especially given that once i moved to chicago, that great american boundary sat just three hours to the west, taunting me. so this weekend, i finally said enough is enough. i'm crossing that sucker.


this is the view of the mississippi from the grounds of the grand harbor hotel in
dubuque, iowa. hear that? iowa. a.k.a. west of the mississippi! eat it, east of the mississippi - i made it! wahoo! (if i shared pictures of myself on this blog, you'd see one of me looking giddy for having accomplished such a feat, or if we had taken video, me doing a ridiculous happy dance, and pointing and whooping, and generally making an ass of myself.)

so. moving along. the "two" part of the twofold reason was this:

the field of dreams. now, call me cheesy, but field of dreams is my favorite movie ever. i have seen it more times than i can count - to the point that i know every shot and every line of dialogue. (a tangent: i'm curious if you all have movies like this as well - one particular film that you've seen to death, know like the back of your hand, but yet never tire of watching.) so of course, when i moved to the midwest, making a film fan pilgrimmage was high on the list of things to do. yet somehow for two years, we never got around to it. two months left in the area meant i had to get my ass in gear, and so we made the trek.

this place was fantastic. really. it was pretty amazing that over 15 years after field of dreams was released, on a random saturday in july, there were 30 or so people there when we pulled in the driveway. and it remained steady for the whole time we were there - as people left, more people just kept pulling in. there was even a wedding party that stopped by for pictures:

it was great to see the place, play some catch, peek into the cornfield and just wonder.

after leaving the field, we went back to our bed & breakfast in dubuque:

gothic, huh? it was really victorian and period-piece and out of the ordinary. (way to get the emphatically *not* victorian tv in this shot though, kate.) here's the bathtub:

nice. very nice.

on our way out of town, we spotted this place:

however, CatCat's namesake joint was not open, so we couldn't try it out. instead, we swung by the western store - its sign was a giant cowboy boot, how could we not? it was there that i was seized by a combination of heatstroke and pure insanity, and purchased these:

yes, those are $120 leather Durango cowboy boots. size 7M. and i love them.

while i was trying them on, i kept asking BoyCat, "am i crazy??" he posed the good question, "when are you ever going to buy cowboy boots in iowa again?" never, that's when. so i supported the local dubuque economy, and then we hit the road.

so there you have it. a thoroughly enjoyable jaunt to eastern iowa. and in a month, it's onward and upward to vegas...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

a brief communication.

i'm here. for a little over 24 hours i was driving to iowa, or in iowa, or driving back from iowa, but i'm here now.

pictures and stories to come, tomorrow night hopefully.

Friday, July 21, 2006

double vision.

i am always amazed by situations like this.

don't you think that someone involved in the creation of this image:

should be able to sue the people involved in the making of this movie poster:

intellectual property, or copyright infringement, or something, right? because holy laura palmer, that is a rip-off.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

it's almost like i'm a real person, doing real things.

so this week, BoyCat and i have actually gotten our lazy asses off of our cheap ikea couches and gone out. to see things. things that other people like to see, like art and sports. who knew that you could see such things in public spaces, instead of just in books or on the teevee?

on tuesday, we went to the MCA, because BoyCat was very interested in seeing the chris ware exhibit. it's like, comic books or something.

hear that? it's a chorus of hipsters screeching "graphic novel! they're graphic novels!" no, just kidding, i actually kinda dig the graphic novel thing, though not quite as much as BoyCat. i have read marjane satrapi's stuff - i'm working on
persepolis 2 right now - and really liked it.

anyway. while we were there, we also checked out the wolfgang tillmans exhibit. some of it i loved, and some of it i hated. i mean, if you can take pictures like this:

then why are you also taking forty or so piece of photo paper, developing the hell out of them til they're jet black, and lining them up in neat rows on the wall? is this some kind of post-postmodern joke? because really. it's either that (which, by the way, isn't even funny), or it's artistic pretension of astronomical proportions. i can't imagine any photographer good enough to warrant an exhibit at the MCA actually thinks that big black squares on a wall is making a deep statement anymore, but hey, stranger things have happened.

then yesterday, BoyCat and i shifted gears and went to see some gay games swimming. it was a lot of fun - for someone to whom swimming never came very naturally, i actually really enjoy watching swimming competitions. and BoyCat swam all through high school, so just the smell of chlorine when we walked in the door made him giddy. it was pretty amazing to watch - people of a huge range of abilities participating, swimming heats with each other, supporting each other. it genuinely seems that every person in that pool area was having a good time.

and ok, can i just say? the event was held at the university of chicago athletic center - holy shit. now i went to boston college for two years, an institution with an endowment over one billion dollars, so i thought i had seen what a rich school looks like. i was wrong.

and to be sure, both u. of c. and boston college have people on the phone this very minute calling 20-something alumni, asking for a donation. well, not that i've ever indulged them before, but this has strengthened my resolve to not give my money away to the sort of institutions that can afford a plasma tv screen in front of every elliptical trainer.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

your wednesday one liner(s).

a triumverate of space-cadet tourist questions, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Dude: Excuse me, is this Times Square?

--Times Square

Teenage girl: Does this train go to Manhattan?

--Times Square, waiting for the downtown C train

Australian hipster: Could you tell me how to get back to Manhattan?

--112th & Broadway

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

man meat, and other advertising devices.

i've wanted to blog about the "restore your manhood" hummer ad. really i have. however, every time i try to put coherent language together that describes the infinite stupidity of the commerical, i just end up hearing a ringing in my ears and seeing bright red dots floating around in my line of vision. i think that's my brain telling me it *will* short-circuit if i think about the ad for one more second.

thankfully, jaynie k passed along this beautiful evisceration of the ad from mighty pony girl, which pretty much covers it. to wit:

It's beyond the boundaries of broadcast decency to actually show the man in the doctor's office being told that he's impotent, or that he has a low sperm count, or showing him gazing forlornly at a small mountain of male enhancement pills that have proven ineffective and thus relegated to the trash. Instead, they show him in the checkout line: purchasing a block of flacid, tasteless tofu. This is a man whose penis is in trouble.

clearly in trouble. just like humanity, for allowing a society in which people get paid obscene amounts of money to come up with this brain-cell-annihilating idiocy.

mighty pony girl also throws in an extra treat, an august j. pollak cartoon that takes on the previous incarnation of the hummer ad, burger king's bizarro "men eat meat" musical theater piece/ad. men? "meat"? pirouetting? nothing gay about that.


i saw a woman almost fall down on the El this morning. she was holding onto a bar and everything, but she was with her husband/boyfriend/manperson, and she was standing at an odd angle in order to talk to him. we went around a curve and she went backwards like she was on a surfboard - it was actually kinda miraculous that she didn't end up in the lap of the girl reading the david balducci novel.

i am a bad person, because it took every ounce of willpower i had not to laugh out loud.

Monday, July 17, 2006

hades. definitely hades.

folks, i'm in a heat-induced stupor that can't be lifted for love or money. we have our air conditioner and two fans going right now (sorry, al, i'll be more vigilant about global warming tomorrow i swear). i think my freckles are melting.

more when i have the energy to think, or when the high temperature drops below 90 degrees. whichever comes first.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

hades, or chicago. one and the same.

q: when the forecasted temperature for today is 100 degrees, and the national weather service predicts a "dangerous" heat index of 105-110 degrees and recommends that you "stay out of the sun," what should you do?

a: have a picnic cultivation event at nonprofitland's residential facility! for four hours! with no tent! and make it mandatory for development to be there!

obviously that's what you do.

i want some gazpacho and ice cubes for dinner.

hmmm, where should we go? "boystown"? sounds perfect.

i've known that the Gay Games were coming to chicago for a long time. i think there were some banners up around boytown when we moved into the neighborhood almost two years ago. so it's been in the works for awhile, and i hadn't given it much thought until the media hype started to build last week. but even then, it was more like, "all right, another gay-themed thingee in chicago that will probably result in busy boystown bars. got it."

then, on friday night, i was heading home from seeing a sky game with roni, cinnamon, brandy, and i was walking down halsted street around 10:30. as i approached a certain block, i saw a gathering of people outside a little place called minibar. now, minibar has never had a line. ever. so i'm thinking, whoa, seriously? a line at minibar, that's crazy. then as i walked past, i realized it was not a line for minibar (which was nevertheless packed), but the end of the line for sidetrack, the huge gay bar half a block farther down the street. this was a line half a city block long, and we're not talking a single-file line either - this was gay men two and three across.

thus i had an inkling of how big this thing was actually going to be.

yesterday, at the gym, i had a chance to take in this Gay Games deluge from the elliptical machine's prime people-watching spot in the front window. walking up and down broadway, the gays were out in force. big gays, little gays, tall gays, short gays, boy gays, girl gays, old gays, young gays - a veritable gayapalooza. now of course, pride could be considered the ultimate gayapalooza, but this was different in that it was just like a normal saturday - no parades, no city-sponsored events, no huge parties - just a regular neighborhood that today happened to be almost entirely populated by gay people.

of course, a neighborhood populated by gay people is going to have some unusual sights. for instance, as i worked out, three guys sashayed past the gym (seriously, sashayed. there's no other way to describe it). they were dressed in black sneakers, white knee high socks, tight black old-school gym shorts, and tight white sleeveless t-shirts with "CHEER" emblazoned across the front. all three were carrying metallic purple pom-poms, and i believe one of them had jackie o sunglasses on.

ladies and gentlemen, the gay invasion is here. it's going to be a fun week.

Friday, July 14, 2006


boston women, take note:

Hollaback Boston is here!

now, the NYC site has been open to stories from all over the world and still is, but it's kinda nice to have a little corner of the internet devoted solely to those special boston skeevs. and believe me, i wish this had been around when i lived there (not that i even had a cameraphone back then - it was like the dark ages of really bulky nokias). i could have sent in posts about the stretch of comm ave. between the T stop and my apartment that i called "the gauntlet," for reasons that you can imagine, or about the day i was walking around in the theater district and momentarily wondered, "wait, do i have any clothes on??" because of the volume and intensity of harassment i was getting.

so, be aware and be safe, but don't take any shit either - now you can hollaback.

driven to distraction in nonprofitland.

i need more coffee, i think. i’m holding in my hand a 501c3 letter that i’ve just faxed for a grant, which i need to return to the filing cabinet. i turn around, grab the almost empty coffee mug from my desk, and head down the hall.

oh, i need band-aids too. the moccasins i’m wearing have given me a blister on my heel. i have the 501c3 in one hand, and the empty coffee mug in the other. i turn right into the copy machine area, where i immediately think, why did i do that?

oh right, band-aids. i put the 501c3 and the coffee mug down on the organizing table and pop open the plastic first aid kit, pulling out two band-aids. i pause a moment to consider putting them on right there. no.

i hold the band-aids and coffee mug in one hand and the 501c3 in the other. i should put this letter away first. i walk, inexplicably, into the kitchen. sigh. i put the band-aids and the coffee mug on the coffee table and the 501c3 under my arm. with my free hand i pour the coffee, and stir in two packets of dunkin donuts sugar and some of the industrial-sized powdered creamer that resides next to the coffee machine. i pick up the coffee and the band-aids, transfer the 501c3 letter to my free hand, and head back down the hall.

i walk into my office and put the band-aids and coffee mug down on the desk. i realize that i am still holding the 501c3 letter, which was the whole purpose of walking out of my office in the first place. i toss in on a pile of other papers in defeat.

the coffee tastes burnt. i drink it anyway.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

snarky food for thought from a former state official.

from today's Salon:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on women in power: "I'm not a person who thinks the world would be entirely different if it was run by women. If you think that, you've forgotten what high school was like."

you'd actually be amazed at how many nasty calls and letters we used to get.

so, apparently, my old nonprofitland stomping grounds in boston, an agency called Project Bread - the Walk for Hunger, was featured on the Daily Show this week! and unlike governor blagojevich, they were aware it was a spoof of the news. maybe it was the fact that the show is on a network called "comedy central" that tipped them off, who knows.

the segment is about a guy named paul who hates all the walkathons that happen in boston every spring because, well, it inconveniences him. he reserves most of his vitriol for the mother of all boston walkathons, the walk for hunger. and really, i remember getting calls from people like paul, all hot and bothered because we were spending a day raising a few million bucks to feed hungry people. that really chafed their hides, for some reason.

anyway, if you've actually jumped through the hoops of fire required to watch video via comedy central's website (seriously, it takes like two hours and an animal sacrifice), you can check out the segment, called Look Who's Walking, Too on The Daily Show's video page. dan bakkedahl interviews my old executive director, who really holds her own and plays the straight man (straight woman, technically) very well.

my only complaint is that somehow the communications department at "the loaf" (as SisterCat used to affectionately call it) neglected to send out an email message about the appearance until a few hours before the last re-run on tuesday. seriously? you've got a whole communications department over there, and you couldn't get it together enough to send out a message before the episode aired? but whatever. that's what the internet's for, i guess.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

courtesy of Overheard in New York, an observation not terribly trenchant to us urban dwellers:

Man on cell: Hello. Oh, hi, yes. You won't believe it. I'm on a bus. In New York City. Can you imagine?

--M-104 bus

Overheard by: Nhoo

public transit? in a major metropolitan city? no, we haven't the foggiest.

planes, trains, and automobiles.

jesus h. christ.

how is one supposed to get anywhere these days? rickshaw? hired camel? i'm running out of options here!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

you're just an empty cage, girl, if you kill the bird.

sleep is putting up a fight lately. we’ve always had something of a contentious relationship, but lately, any semblance of control over the process has eluded me. night after night, battle-weary, i sink into bed and try – try to clear my mind, try to breathe evenly and deeply, try to entice the sleep my bones and muscles and eyelids want so badly. but it keeps skittering away from me, like a fly around a flyswatter, or dust in a draft.

and i wonder what it is. what is this uneasiness that keeps me shifting from my left side to my right, from my right side to my stomach, from my stomach to my back with hands tucked resignedly behind my head? i move in and out of darkened apartment rooms, chilled by deep shadows and imagined movements. through the bedroom window, i watch the tops of the trees sway across the street. i pick, absentmindedly, at scars.

my brain is humming. the thoughts are connected yet not, like a stream of broken stones. where is south station again? i don’t want an apartment with carpet. we should give those books to the Women & Children booksale. i’d like another tattoo. if there was a fire, how would we ever get out? i'd like to go to Morocco. what was that noise? i can’t find any jobs. no really, what was that noise? and running over (or maybe under) all this is an insistent tori amos chorus, held over from the commute home.

why do we
crucify ourselves

every day

it repeats and repeats, while my toes flex in time with its rhythm.

from the living room, my cat lets out a strangled sound. this has become a bizarre little nighttime routine for us over the last few evenings – i’ve started to expect it. she cries out in a few short bursts and a few longer, vacant meows, and then I see her shadow move near the bedroom door.

tschook, tschook i sound out with my tongue against my teeth, softly. “come here,” i whisper, hoping not to wake the only sleeping one in the apartment. but he just shifts slightly and is still again. the cat comes stealthily and tentatively along the side of the bed, where i reach over and pat her head. she looks at me, the nightstand, the foot of the bed. she jumps up, stands alongside my stomach for a few reassuring pats.

“i know, sweetie. i know.”

she settles in at my feet.

and i wonder what it is. i can feel the anxiety in my shoulders, in the small of my back as i stretch sideways. i roll and twist, trying to release the tension. i stare at the slight swing of a tree branch, cast in negative against the wall twelve inches from my face. i stay awake, because somewhere in all this night and darkness and stillness, there must be some kind of answer just about to swim up in front of me. there must be, right? there must be some kind of clue tucked into the minute beyond this one, or the one beyond that – a way to fill the hollow.

i’m waiting.

Monday, July 10, 2006

a whole new level of "what were you thinking"?

what a truly baffling turn of events.

this morning, the BBC elaborates on a possible motivation:

Zinedine Zidane's agent says the French captain headbutted Marco Materazzi in Sunday's World Cup final because the Italian made a "very serious" comment...

Sources in France say it is believed that Materazzi insulted Zidane's mother.

ok, first of all, "sources in france say it is believed"? could a more shaky attribution for an idea be concocted? and secondly, even if materazzi did insult zidane's mother, are we supposed to imagine that this was the first time zidane had bumped up against a "yo mama" joke on the pitch? please. i'm sure zidane has handled slander, libel, and heresy against his mother many times before, and still managed not to knock someone to the ground with the top of his head. you think he could have managed the same kind of restraint for 20 more minutes.

regardless, i'm still dying to know what materazzi said. who isn't?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

friday cat blogging, weekend edition.

this is what CatCat and her owners are doing this weekend.

that's right. sitting on the couch, staring at the tv, looking fat.

well, maybe CatCat will be the only one looking fat. but if you saw me today, you might think i had been hit by some type of moving vehicle, because my allergies once again mounted an attack against my poor, defenseless body. the little slice of human biology with which i've been saddled has not yet figured out how to stave off a runny nose, sneezing, and a headache.

so i'm sitting on the couch, looking like a lameass. but at least it's the weekend.

Friday, July 07, 2006

something that is frustrating.

so yesterday, my left eyelid got a little uppity. it was tender and sore, so i went sans contacts for most of the day. it was still bothering me when i went to bed last night, and then this morning it was even more sore. upon closer inspection in the bathroom mirror, it was clear that the eyelid had gone from uppity to downright pissed off. it was swollen, puffy, and generally all-around ugly.


so i threw my glasses on for another day, and just for kicks i opened up google to investigate this phenonmenon further. i've had minor eye irritations like this one in the past, but a) my eyelid was pretty damn puffy this time and b) i am my mother's daughter, so it was time for some medical research.

i googled "puffy sore eyelid", without quotation marks in order to get as much as i can. and do you know what over half of the results on the first three pages of google were about?

blehparoplasty. plastic surgery for your eyelids.

i'm like, seriously? i google "puffy sore eyelid" and i get a bunch of shit about aesthetically improving my eye area? i've got bigger problems here, google, i don't care about when the anesthesia will wear off or how surgery will affect the tone and shape of my eyebrows. i just want to know why my eye hurts and how to make it stop hurting.

apparently, according to the world's biggest search engine, i'm not thinking outside of the box here. maybe if i scheduled a blehparoplasty for next week, i could take care of my eye pain and those fine lines starting to reach toward my temples. well, thanks but no thanks google. i think i'll stick with my naturally pissed off eyelids for now.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

taking a moment to share a petty, inconsequential thought.

to all bloggers above the age of 22:

i would advise you to not, under any circumstances, post IM conversations on your blog. especially if they are confrontational conversations. really especially if they are confrontations with a significant other or ex-significant other. i know it's hard to believe, but we are not in college anymore, and you shouldn't be admitting to the world that you still fight with people over IM.

in fact, i'll go a step further with this totally unsolicited advice. don't fight with people over IM, period. be an adult and pick up the phone, or if you need more time to think it through, write a thorough email that makes all the points you'd like to make. but for the love of god, don't engage in the sado-masochism that is an IM argument anymore.

and if you refuse to take this sage pearl of wisdom and abide by it, then please, at least spare the rest of us the ignomy and keep those IM transcripts to yourselves.

thank you.

p.s. yes, i can be a frivoulous bitch. if that's the point you were planning on making in comments, well hey, i've just saved you the time and energy.

artie, the strongest man in the world!

i was all ready to post something last night, and then i fell asleep. at 9:00 pm. for reals.

before the unfortunate narcolepsy episode, the thing getting in the way of posting was a little gift from the gods called The Adventures of Pete & Pete, seasons one AND two. they arrived in the mail yesterday, and BoyCat and i promptly threw disc one in the DVD player and started watching. oh, how i love oddball 90s television. big pete! little pete! artie! bus driver stu!

two episodes down, 19 to go. plus bonus shorts and audio commentary. can't wait to see if danny tamberelli now sounds the part of stoner hippie in the same way he now looks the part.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

the ice cream truck played the theme song from the sting.

is that odd? i think it is. but i swear, that's what the truck in my neighborhood played as it drove around during the summer. family peeps, am i totally misremembering that?

one thing i'm sure that i'm not misremembering, though, is my ice cream of choice from the ice cream truck. earlier today, BoyCat and i were at the beach (which was way crowded! on the fourth of july! who knew?), and the men with the ice cream carts were riding up and down, up and down, ringing the little cart bells. some people on each side of us got ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches, and we were kicking ourselves for not having brought along a few bucks for just such a frozen dairy emergency. i said i would've liked a strawberry shortcake bar. BoyCat said he would've liked a snoopy bar. i said i would've liked a...what was that thing called again? you know, the ice cream that came in a plastic cone and had a gumball at the bottom?

BoyCat looked at me like i was speaking hebrew. he said that he had, in no uncertain terms, ever heard or seen any ice cream concoction like the one i was describing. and i could not remember the name of this thing, which of course infuriated me, because a) i get infuritated when i can not recount trivial details of absolutely no import, and b) because it made my claim that this ice cream treat existed even more dubious.

fear not, though, because this story ends happily. after a little while, i finally remembered what it was called.

a screwball! that's it. delicious. now where is that ice cream truck that plays the theme from the sting when you need it?

some independent thoughts, in honor of the fourth of july.

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it." - edward r. murrow

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - george orwell

"It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind." - voltaire

"Live Free or Die" - the state of new hampshire

"Don't follow leaders. Watch your parking meters." - bob dylan

enjoy the day.

Monday, July 03, 2006

i hardly know what to say.

spreading freedom and democracy, right?

really, i don't know what to say. there's a lot to be said, but my overwhelming sadness and anger just keep getting in the way.

it's oh so quiet.

i am not wearing shoes right now. i mean, i wore them on my way in to work (not wearing shoes on the El could be the most disgusting proposition ever), but now i have no shoes on. unfortunately, i didn't bring my slippers, but it's ok. i'll live.

i am the only person in my office. the only one.

it isn't that strange to be the only one in the office if you've just gotten in really early to get a jump on things, or if you're there late working on a deadline. but the knowledge that you will be the only person in the office all day? that's just odd. it's like ferris bueller or risky business or something - i feel compelled to do something ridiculous and slightly foolish, just because i can. dance on a lateral filing cabinet? do somersaults in the hallway? put all the stuff from my boss's desk on the receptionist's desk, and all the stuff from the receptionist's desk on my boss's desk?

drink heavily?

no, i won't do any of the above, because i am a nice girl. well, i will drink heavily, but it will be iced coffee, not booze.

so be barefoot, drink heavily, and look for jobs. sounds like a plan to me.